If you always thought tomatoes were a vegetable, think again because here are some interesting facts you never knew. For one, tomatoes are not a vegetable, but a fruit and a berry to be exact. Further, the tomato plant is closely related to the nightshade family that is known to be a highly toxic plant. Packed with nutrients and health, the benefits of tomatoes include antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You can buy tomatoes in all the corners of the world and they are available in a range of flavors, colors, shapes, and sizes. Eat them as a part of a salad or add them to your dishes for that special tangy touch that enhances the taste of each preparation.
Benefits of Tomatoes for Your Heart
Studies have shown that cardiovascular diseases are mainly linked to inflammation and oxidative stress on the heart muscles. The beta-carotene and lycopene content in tomatoes works to lower this inflammation and protects the lining on the walls of your arteries. Which is why, you lower the risk of developing hypertension. Further, lycopene can lower the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body so you avoid the formation of blood clots that can cause strokes and heart attacks.
One of the key factors that is essential for heart health is a careful balance in the levels of sodium and potassium in your body. And, tomatoes can make that happen for you. They also contain choline, vitamin C, and fiber aside from potassium which are all essential for a healthy heart. The folate content helps regulate the action of homocysteine in your body. Homocysteine is a kind of amino acid formed because of the digestion of proteins and can adversely affect your heart.
Benefits of Tomatoes for Your Body and Skin
Prevents the Development of Cancer Cells
Tomatoes contain a rich content of polyphenols like lycopene along with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. These compounds prevent the formation of free radicals in your body. These free radicals cause several kinds of cancer in your body including stomach, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers. Further, the carotenoids in tomatoes may help prevent breast cancer in women.
Eating tomatoes regularly adds to the fiber and water content in your food. Fiber adds bulk to your stool so you have smoother bowel movements. It also assists in the release of digestive and gastric enzymes for better digestion. The water content also helps to keep your body hydrated which is why tomatoes are a natural treatment for not just constipation but also for diarrhea.
Helps Control Diabetes
By adding tomatoes to your daily diet, you can promote your body’s response to insulin. In this way, you can better manage the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. You will also have more optimum levels of insulin and lipids.
Additional Benefits of Tomatoes
- Polyphenols like lycopene help in maintaining skin health and preventing sunburns and signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that prevents aging and sun damage
- Provide protection against jaundice and helping in the removal of toxins from the body
- Beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene prevent the development of cataracts and protect the eyes from the effects of UV rays and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Beneficial for pregnant women thanks to the content of folates that are essential for the proper development of the baby
- Chlorogenic acid and coumaric acid reverse the damage caused by smoking by fighting the nitrosamines, the carcinogenic compounds found in cigarettes
- Diuretic nature promotes proper urination that helps eliminate uric acid, salts, and excess water. And, thus prevents the formation of kidney stones
Tomatoes are the most popular of farm produce in the world being right up there with potatoes, onions, and lettuces. Add them to your regular meals and you can also get the benefits of this delicious fruit.