7 Health Reasons to Include More Tomatoes in Your Diet - CalorieBee - Diet & Exercise
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7 Health Reasons to Include More Tomatoes in Your Diet

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As a counselor, Tim has taught independent living skills (shopping, cooking, etc.) to his clients and students with disabilities.

Tomatoes come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Tomatoes come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Enjoying Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the world’s healthiest and diverse foods. Tomatoes are loaded with compounds which support many body functions. Grown in many varieties,, tomatoes can be prepared in various ways. Some people may eat tomatoes raw, such as in sandwiches or in salads. Others may like tomatoes in stews or soups.

Regardless of your preference for digesting these vegetables, washing tomatoes before you eat them is a good idea because of the levels of pesticides used to grow them. Also, people using beta blockers may want to consult their physician before eating this member of the nightshade family. In addition, individuals with certain gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases may wish to avoid tomatoes in foods. Nevertheless, this nutritious vegetable is ranked in the top five of fresh market foods sold in the United States. Frequently considered a fruit, tomatoes are also called vegetables when discussing cooking. I will use both descriptions of the tomato in this article.

As a counselor, I taught my students about agriculture, and we discussed the different ways to enjoy the nearly twenty thousand varieties of tomatoes. Indeed, my students were fascinated by the versatility and nature of tomatoes in many dishes. Since the tomato comes in different sizes and shapes, a person can find one type that he/she prefers. Here are some of the health benefits of the plant that we discussed. Below are seven reasons to consider munching on these tasty nutritious power houses on a regular basis.

Poll

The red color of most tomatoes comes from the antioxidant compound lycopene.

The red color of most tomatoes comes from the antioxidant compound lycopene.

Seven Reasons to Include More Tomatoes in Your Diet

  • Vitamins and Minerals – Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, including: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6. Some of the minerals present in tomatoes are: copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, and traces of other metals. By changing the type of tomato you consume, you can vary the amount of minerals and vitamins you intake as well as other healthy substances. Cooking tomatoes can produce the best results for health.
  • Antioxidants and Other Healthy Compounds – When you eat a tomato, the body receives plenty of antioxidants, which play a part in controlling cell damage. Tomatoes are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, which are phytonutrients, common in most plants. Some of these carotenoids are: lutein, gamma-carotene, and an extensive group of polyphenols.
This unusual looking tomato is of the heirloom variety Cherokee Purple.

This unusual looking tomato is of the heirloom variety Cherokee Purple.

  • Preventing High Blood Pressure – Tomatoes are high in potassium, a mineral associated with widening of the arteries. Research has found less than 2% of Americans intake enough potassium daily. By reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium by eating tomatoes, a person would be helping reduce the possibility of developing the condition of hypertension (high blood pressure.) In addition, consumption of potassium is related to lessening the potential for developing kidney stones, preventing muscle deterioration, and preserving bone density. Tomatoes also contain calcium and other compounds associated with muscle response and healthy bones.
  • Controlling Constipation – Tomatoes are high in fiber and water. Some people refer to tomatoes as a “natural laxative.” Consuming tomatoes may contribute to regular bowel movements.
Local farmer's markets are a good place to find different types of tomatoes.

Local farmer's markets are a good place to find different types of tomatoes.

  • Skin and Eyes – The antioxidants in tomatoes assist with protecting the eyes from light damage. Intake of the antioxidant, zeaxanthin, plentiful in tomatoes, was found to be related to a decrease in the occurrence of diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating tomatoes is great for your vision. Furthermore, your skin benefits from including tomatoes in your diet. The body requires high Vitamin C content to make collagen for nails and connective tissues. Tomatoes provide this vitamin to your body.
  • Diabetes – Adding tomatoes to meals can help control diabetes because of the plentiful fiber in the vegetable. Studies have shown increasing fiber intake for people with Type I diabetes reduces blood glucose levels. People with Type II diabetes benefited with better insulin levels when consuming tomatoes, according to research.
  • Heart Protection – Choline and folate are abundant in tomatoes. Folate plays a role in balancing protein breakdown. This is crucial in preventing heart attacks. Along with other compounds found in this vegetable, support for your heart can be obtained from increasing tomatoes in your diet. If you are using beta blockers for a heart condition or any medical reason, check with your doctor before consuming tomatoes. This has to do with the interaction between beta blockers and potassium.

Poll

Although tomatoes are eaten in many parts of the world, they originated in the  Americas.

Although tomatoes are eaten in many parts of the world, they originated in the Americas.

More Reasons to Add Tomatoes to Your Meals

For nearly two centuries, tomatoes were often considered poisonous to people. Scholars speculate the primary factor influencing this thinking happened to be that the tomato belongs to the night-shade family of plants, which includes peppers, . potatoes, tomatoes, and the egg plant. Cultivated by the original dwellers of South America, Solanum lycopersicum (the tomato plant), was brought to Europe by the Spanish. Now, the red “berry” of the tomato plant is found worldwide in countless foods with potent health properties. In fact, some estimates suggest tomatoes are the most produced fruit in the globe, possibly for many of these health benefits.

Although one particular compound found in tomatoes may not prevent the onset of any physical condition, the “synergistic” effect of these substances benefit many groups. Lycopene, and fiber, along with the high content of beta-carotene found in tomatoes, have been associated with a reduction in men developing prostate cancer. For pregnant women, tomatoes offer a nutrition filled snack. Calcium and other nutrients found in the fruit are important for the mother and growing baby. In spite of the health benefits related to digesting tomatoes, consulting with your doctor before making dietary changes is essential.

References

Health Properties of Tomatoes - WebMD. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-properties-tomatoes#1

Tomatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits – Healthline. Retrieved May 28, 2018, from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/tomatoes#section4

Why tomato is the world's favoured fruit - BBC News - BBC.com. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from: www.bbc.com/news/health-39139660


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on August 18, 2019:

This morning, we had a treat of a scramble. For breakfast, we had diced tomatoes, onions, pepper jack cheese and tomatoes in eggs. The flexibility of this fruit makes it easy to be used in many dishes with pleasing results. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 11, 2018:

Hello, Dream on,

I appreciate your visit to my article. I also apreciate the follow and I will reciprocate.

Tomatoes are certainly one of nature's wonder foods, and I can't get enough of them.

Much respect and admiration from me to a talented, compassionate, and thoughtful writer,

Tim

DREAM ON on November 08, 2018:

Your hub gives me a new appreciation for tomatoes. I love the little cherry tomatoes because I can just pop them in my mouth and feel them squirt. I pretend they are candy. Always a treat to eat. Thank you for sharing such a valuable source of information. I learned a lot. Over the years I forget why I am eating something. Flavor and texture. Taste and convenience. The real reason is nutrition and it is so good for you. Thank you for such a healthy and happy reminder. Have a beautiful day.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 04, 2018:

Hello, Margaret,

I'm humbled to receive a visit from one of the most prolific writers on HP. Tomatoes are certainly fun to eat and full of health benefits. I was surprised with how useful the fruit/vegetable can be for the body. We love adding tomatoes to our meals practically everyday.

Again, thank you for dropping by.

To a thoughtful, kind, and respectful writer,

May your day be peaceful and rewarding as you help and share with others.

Sincerely,

Tim

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on November 04, 2018:

Tim, I am so glad I read your article about the health benefits of tomatoes. I eat them all the time, but I wasn't aware of all the reasons they should be included in my diet.

I was especially happy to learn that they are beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes which I have. Thank you for sharing that information.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 04, 2018:

Hi, Lora,

Many years ago, I learned my body was a fan of the nightshade family of vegetables. I love tomatoes and they are versatile and enjoyable. I've read the tomato is one of nature's healthiest foods.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Your comment means much to me.

Much respect and admiration sent your way,

As always, may your day be peaceful and rewarding.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 04, 2018:

Thanks, Flourish. I love tomatoes because they grow so well around here. We like to select different varieties from our Farmer's Market for all kinds of dishes. Unfortunately, we have deer and 'possums who love a good garden, too. I kid you not: I believe my rat terriers are on first name basis with some of these deer.

Thanks for the visit. Continue to Flourish, my friend.

With respect and admiration,

Tim

Lora Hollings on November 03, 2018:

One of the most versatile and beneficial fruits or veggies that you can eat, the tomato! I love tomatoes and eat them every day in a variety of ways from eating them raw just for a healthy snack, or on my salads, or as a wonderful marinara sauce on pasta. Eating tomatoes may also help lower your risk of stroke due to the lycopene that they contain and also may reduce your risk of cancer. What is there not to love about these delectable powerhouses of nutrition? Thanks Tim for your wonderful article on the tomato. There were many things that I learned about the tomato that I didn’t know before and now I can appreciate them even more!

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 03, 2018:

What great reasons to include these in your diet. Ever the optimist, I try growing these in my container garden every year and they do very well until the deer and maybe the raccoons (?) treat themselves. Luckily, my parents live a mile away from us, and my father is a master gardener. He's one of those crazy old folks who don't care about the homeowners association's empty threats. They never planned on somebody like him whose garden and apple trees would pretty much overtake his backyard. He gives me lots of tomatoes and other freebies and I often return the favor with a cooked recipe. Those photos are beautiful. Someone has an eye for photography.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 06, 2018:

Thank you, brother. It's funny, but we just ate the biggest healthiest Greek salad my wife could put together. We added grape leaves to the mix along with plenty of tomatoes. It was fabulous.

Thank you for taking your valuable time out of your busy schedule with your family and work to give this a read.

Always appreciated,

Sincerely,

Tim

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on June 06, 2018:

My dear brother, Tim, you always find the ways to help in so many ways! Your article is significant because tomatoes are really a gift from Paradise for our health. Here in Greece tomatoes are part of every day's meal. Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olive oil, oregano and feta cheese is our special salad, and it is a super healthy plate.

Well done my brother!

Sean

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on May 30, 2018:

According to all the research I read about tomatoes, Ms. Dora, they rank as one of the world's "super" foods. Nature is an awesome force.

Thank you for reading and commenting on one of the great foods of the world.

I am always honored by your comments.

Sincerely,

Tim

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 30, 2018:

I love tomatoes. Thanks for the information on their nutritional value and how to use them.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on May 29, 2018:

Thank you, Manatita for your wonderful comment. Tomatoes are exquisite - especially when I read about all of the benefits they can add to our lives. My wife adds tomatoes to almost every dish we have. It's one of those fruits which compliments about everything it touches.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Tim

manatita44 from london on May 29, 2018:

Excellent article! The lycopene is good for the eyes. I take it raw or on salads. It is quite customary for it to come with beans and toast. But I don't great if I have it fried.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on May 28, 2018:

Of course, Abwilliams. The Bible. A big garden with wonderful flowers and vegetables. Smiling with your grandchildren. Holding tight to ideas and principles you cherish - Some people may not think that is healthy, but that is a wonderful way to get through this life every day.

Much respect,

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on May 28, 2018:

Hi, Abwilliams,

Nothing like a "amata samage." I'm a southerner. It's almost a right of passage to have those; you and I both know that. In fact, I had one with my breakfast this morning.

I hope your tomato plants turn out well after all of the rain you guys got in Florida. I was watching the news about the wave of rain coming through. We are getting some of it right now.

If you were close, dear friend, trust me - we would visit. You are a wonderful soul.

God bless you and your family.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on May 28, 2018:

Thanks, Coffeequeeen,

My grandfather had a farm and occasionally he grew them for the local market. Tomatoes are one of those foods which are loaded with goodness. I can't get enough of them in all sorts of ways. My wife swears I'm going to turn into a tomato. (lol)

Thanks again for reading and providing a great comemnt.

Sincerely,

Tim

A B Williams from Central Florida on May 28, 2018:

P.S. My 'favorite' is not the way to go, if you are going healthy! LOL

A B Williams from Central Florida on May 28, 2018:

Our tomatoes are coming in right now and if you lived a little closer, I'd share a few pounds with you Tim!

We have four varieties this year and they are doing very well, (we are having to pick them before they ripen on the vine, due to heavy rainfall over the past couple weeks) We love our tomatoes.

My all time favorite; room temperature sliced tomatoes on white bread with Duke's mayo, salt and pepper. Yummy!

Great article!

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on May 28, 2018:

I've never tried growing my own tomatoes, but I like eating them. I didn't realise they had so many health benefits though.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on May 27, 2018:

Perhaps, there is another benefit to tomatoes often over looked. It involves the psychological aspect of feeling good about doing something positive for your body. Also, growing tomatoes can be a rewarding task. Watching a tomato plant bear fruit is a wonderful experience. Research has suggested cultivating positive feelings about life contributes to good health. This could be accomplished through growing tomatoes or other plants, if you have the space and energy.

I have planted tomato plants and observed in wonder as the beautiful fruit grew day by day.

My grandmother used to say, "Watch what the animals eat. They know what's healthy normally." During one particular morning, my wife and I looked out at our garden, and there, nibbling with something that could only be described as pleasure, was a deer. It seemed to love our tomato plant.

Of course, we could fence off the garden and take all kinds of precautions, but we figured the deer wanted to eat healthy as well.

Thanks for reading and commenting on this article.

Sincerely,

Tim

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