Tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits consumed in the United States. They may just be one of the most nutritious and healthy foods on earth. But this hasn’t always been the case.
In the early 17th century, Spaniards brought tomatoes with them from South America. However, the new fruit mostly spread fear among Europeans. This is because people believed that the tomato was poisonous. This was because its leaves and stems contained the same alkaloid found in toxic nightshade plants.
The tomato didn’t become popular as a food item until about two hundred years later when French physician Jean-Baptiste de Mirabaud introduced it into his diet and claimed that it helped him recover from an illness. His enthusiasm for tomatoes led to others trying to develop recipes using the fruit.
Ever since then, tomatoes have become a staple in the western world!
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Tomato can actually improve their skin, reduce inflammation, and even strengthen bones. All without taking a single pill or supplement! Here’s what science says about the health effects of eating tomatoes:
1. Boosts Heart Health
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives the fruit its red color (1). Lycopene has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke (2).
In one study, people who ate tomato sauce daily for 3 months had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t eat it (3). Other studies have found that eating tomatoes regularly can reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 30%! Tomatoes may also lower cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels in some people.
This delicious fruit also contains high amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and folate (4). These nutrients work together to help prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries or veins. Vitamin C also improves circulation by strengthening blood vessel walls and allowing more blood to flow through a person’s body.
This vitamin also helps protect against free radical damage caused by smoking or exposure to pollutants in the environment. Potassium, on the other hand, helps regulate blood pressure by preventing sodium from sticking to artery walls and causing them to harden over time.
Folate also works with vitamin B12 to break down homocysteine into amino acids that are used for cell growth and repair within the body (5). Homocysteine is an amino acid that can cause plaque buildup within the arteries if left untreated over time (6) .
Summary :Tomatoes are high in lycopene and other nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and beta carotene. All of these nutrients together help to support heart health and decrease the risk of heart disease.
2. May support weight loss
Tomatoes contain a compound called hydroxy citric acid (7). This compound is thought to help reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness after eating. In fact, people who consume hydroxy citric acid-containing foods like tomatoes may lose more weight than those who don’t!
According to a recent study from the University of Illinois, eating tomato-based products may support weight loss. These results were based on a study of 70 overweight or obese adults who were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group consumed a tomato-rich diet and the other did not.
After six months, participants in both groups had lost an average of 3% of their body weight. However, those who ate tomatoes lost an average of 8% more fat than those who did not consume tomatoes. The researchers believe that compounds called carotenoids found in tomatoes may be responsible for these results.
Summary :Tomatoes contain hydroxy citric acid, which may help reduce appetite and support overall weight loss.
3. Improves Skin Health
Apart from supporting weight loss, carotenoids may help boost collagen production, which keeps skin firm and elastic (8). They can also reduce inflammation and protect against sun damage.
A tomato-rich diet has been linked to fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness. Some research suggests that tomato consumption may even decrease the risk of developing sunburns when exposed to UV radiation.
Tomatoes also contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that protects against sun damage and may prevent skin cancer (9). Lycopene also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.
The vitamin A found in tomatoes is necessary for healthy skin and helps to keep it moisturized. Vitamin A may be helpful for those suffering from acne or rosacea as well as psoriasis and eczema because it reduces inflammation and improves healing time.
Other flavonoids in tomatoes help to protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (10). They also help balance oil production so you can avoid breakouts!
While eating whole tomatoes provides plenty of benefits for your skin, it’s best to consume them raw or lightly cooked. This is done so you don’t lose too many nutrients through cooking or processing methods such as juicing or making sauces out of them.
Summary :There are high amounts of carotenoids and antioxidants in tomatoes, which can help boost collagen production and boost skin health.
4. Improves Symptoms of Diabetes
Tomatoes, like all fruits and vegetables, are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber helps to lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Tomatoes also contain a compound called chlorogenic acid that helps prevent blood sugar spikes after eating carbohydrates (11).
According to Harvard Health Publications, tomatoes may help protect against diabetes because they have been shown to reduce insulin resistance in animal studies. In addition, researchers found that tomato extract lowered blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
This may be because tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, both of which help regulate blood sugar levels (7, 12). They also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which may help prevent diabetes-related damage to the kidneys and eyes.
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who took a tomato extract every day for 12 weeks had lower blood sugar levels than those on placebo pills (13). Vitamin C can also help prevent oxidative damage to proteins in the body, which is linked to many chronic diseases including diabetes.
Summary :Tomatoes are high in fiber and other compounds that may help regulate blood sugar levels and support those with diabetes.
5. Improves vision
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for vision health. Vitamin A helps maintain the health and function of your eyes, especially those with a deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness and dry eyes that hurt when you blink (14). If you have a severe deficiency, it may cause corneal ulcers, which can result in permanent loss of vision.
Eating tomatoes every day may even help improve vision in adults with macular degeneration, which is a condition that causes blurred vision and eventual blindness (15). The Vitamin C in tomatoes can also help reduce the risk of developing cataracts by as much as 50%!
Beta-carotene is another antioxidant found in tomatoes that may help prevent cataracts from forming. It is converted into vitamin A in the body, which promotes good vision health by supporting healthy night vision and helping you to see more clearly in dim light conditions.
The best way to get the most out of your tomatoes is to buy them fresh, in season, and eat them raw or lightly cooked as they lose their beneficial properties when cooked for too long.
Summary :Vitamin A and vitamin C are naturally found in tomatoes which have been shown to promote eye health and decrease the risk of age-related eye diseases.
6. Promotes gut health
Tomatoes promote gut health by acting as prebiotics. The gut is a complex ecosystem, which contains hundreds of different species of bacteria. These microorganisms help digest food and play a role in the immune system.
The bacteria in your gut also produce substances called prebiotics that are beneficial to them (16). Prebiotics are non-digestible sugars that encourage the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
Prebiotics has been shown to improve the balance of microorganisms in the gut and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. They may also help prevent colon cancer.
In addition to increasing the number of good bacteria in your digestive system, prebiotics may also help keep bad bacteria out by blocking their ability to attach to cell walls and invade organs such as the liver or brain.
Apart from acting as prebiotics, tomatoes also contain fiber, which helps to keep the colon healthy by promoting regular bowel movements and reducing constipation. They can even reduce inflammation in the digestive tract by lowering levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Summary :Tomatoes play a role as a prebiotic, which can help support gut bacteria and overall promote gut health.
7. Strengthens bones
Lycopene also helps the body absorb calcium better and improves bone strength by increasing bone mineral density. It also prevents bone loss due to osteoporosis.
Lycopene is found naturally in tomatoes but it’s not as easy for our bodies to absorb it when it’s cooked into ketchup or tomato sauce. That’s why it’s important to eat tomatoes raw in salads and sandwiches to get the maximum absorption of lycopene in the bloodstream.
Vitamin C is also responsible for increasing the production of collagen, which is important to maintain healthy bones. Vitamin K is another essential component found in tomatoes that helps in strengthening bones. This vitamin also stimulates bone formation and helps in repairing damaged bone tissue.
One cup of cooked tomatoes provides you with 3.6 mg of vitamin K, which is important for bone health (17). Tomatoes are also high in potassium, which has been proven to prevent bone loss. Potassium helps regulate the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones (18).
A tomato-based diet can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other conditions affecting your bones such as rheumatoid arthritis. Research shows that eating tomatoes regularly may lower your risk of developing these diseases by up to 50%!
Summary :Nutrients in tomatoes like lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin K are all important nutrients for maintaining and improving bone strength and repairing bone tissue.
8. Promotes healthy hair
Tomatoes are good for your skin and hair. They help to prevent premature graying, slow down the aging of your skin and prevent wrinkles. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin E, which helps keep your scalp hydrated so it doesn’t get dry or flaky (19).
Tomatoes can be used to treat dandruff since they help prevent the loss of proteins from your scalp. The antioxidants present in tomatoes help remove free radicals from the body, which can damage hair follicles and cause dandruff.
Lycopene also has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in reducing scalp inflammation and itchiness caused by dandruff.
The high amount of vitamin C present in tomatoes helps strengthen your hair roots as well as strengthen your immunity against infections. This vitamin also prevents hair fall by strengthening the roots of your hair shafts so that they don’t break easily (20).
To get the maximum benefits from tomatoes, you can make tomato juice or tomato paste from them. You can also add tomatoes to your smoothies or juices.
Summary :Vitamin E and vitamin C in tomatoes may help with healthy hair and preventing issues like hair loss, dry scalp, and weak, brittle hair.
9. May prevent cancer
Lycopene present in tomatoes has been shown to help fight cancer. In addition, tomatoes are also high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage.
In one study, a research team measured blood levels of lycopene in more than 1,000 men over eight years. The results showed that those with higher levels had a significantly reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.
They also found that those who consumed large amounts of lycopene from foods such as tomatoes were less likely to develop aggressive cancers than those who rarely ate these fruit.
Summary :The antioxidants in tomatoes like lycopene and vitamin C may protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of cancer.
The best way to get the health benefits of tomatoes is to eat them raw. Cooking them can destroy up to 80 percent of their Lycopene content. Lycopene is fat-soluble so it’s best absorbed when consumed with a little fat like olive oil.
When you get down to it, the best things in life are those that give your body antioxidants while tasting so good that they don’t feel like medicine. So if you’re looking for a way to eat a healthier diet, just add fresh tomatoes!
So, before you decide whether or not to adopt a daily tomato regimen, weigh up all of the benefits and consider your unique dietary needs.