Most gardeners grow tomatoes, they are relatively easy to grow and reward us with tasty, juicy fruit.Tomatoes are also packed full of vitamins and minerals. The health benefits of tomatoes should not be over looked.
The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are 95% water with the other 5% being mostly carbohydrates and fibre, 85% of this fibre being insoluble. This is only part of the story though. These tasty fruits are the main source of lycopene an anti oxidant linked to the prevention of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Not too shabby so far, but there’s so much more…
Up to 4% of a tomato is made up of carbohydrates, with glucose and fructose making up nearly 70% of this carbohydrate.
The good stuff
Each fresh tomato contains:-
- Vitamin C– An anti oxidant and essential nutrient.
- Vitamin K– A blood coagulant and essential for healthy bones.
- Vitamin B9 (Folate)– Aids cell function and tissue growth. Especially important during pregnancy.
- Potassium– Another essential mineral, prevents cardio-vascular disease and is used to assist in controlling blood pressure.
- Lycopene– Red antioxidant as mentioned above essential in the prevention of stroke, heart disease and cancer.
- Beta-Carotene– A yellow anti oxidant, converted by the body into Vitamin A.
- Chlorogenic Acid– Another anti oxidant, useful in lowering blood pressure.
- Naringenin– An anti inflammatory flavonoid.
- Lutein– Known to protect against cataracts.
Interestingly the redder the tomato the higher the amount of Lycopene it contains. From a health perspective tomatoes are the most important source of Lycopene in the human diet. Usually fresh is best but tomato puree and sauce are a great source of Lycopene (see below).
What Are The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes?
Cardio vascular Disease
According to recent studies, the biggest cause of cardio vascular disease(heart attack and stroke) in men is a lack of certain compounds found in…TOMATOES. These compounds are Lycopene and Beta-Carotene.
Low serum lycopene and β-carotene increase risk of acute myocardial infarction in men.
A diet high in Lycopene is effective in the lowering of LDL (bad cholesterol). Tomato consumption is also a great way to help prevent harmful blood clots.
Cancers including, lung, stomach, breast, and prostate have been found to be less frequent in people who eat tomatoes as a regular part of their diet. As we speak more tests into these claims are taking place by the relevant scientists.
Lycopene and other compounds found in tomatoes help in the prevention of the harmful effects of the sun on the skin. According to the Royal Society Of Chemistry in a study done in 2006, eating tomatoes contributes to a life long protection from UV rays.
Beta-Carotene found in tomatoes and here’s a clue… Carrots are well known to help with vision. Tomatoes assist in the prevention of macular degeneration, and help to prevent cataracts through lutein which are found in yellow/orange and red fruits.
Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting and the healing of wounds.
As the fibre is insoluble, tomatoes will aid in keeping you flowing.
Raw Or Cooked, Which Is Better?
With most fruits and vegetables, it is always best from a health point of view to eat them raw. Not so with tomatoes, cooking tomatoes actually increases the Lycopene and anti oxidant levels. Giving a greater benefit to health once cooked.
A Video Summary For The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes
So to increase your over all health, grow organic tomatoes, consume daily and make sauces and pastes and most importantly…Enjoy.