Amazing Health Benefits of Tomatoes by Grill Heat Aid
Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.Usually red when mature, tomatoes can also come in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, green, and purple. What’s more, many subspecies of tomatoes exist with different shapes and flavors. They appear in sauces, salads, juices, soups, and elsewhere. Their prevalence is good news; tomatoes are healthful as well as tasty and versatile. They are especially lauded for their cardiovascular benefits. They are also good sources of several vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, especially the carotenoid lycopene, which gives tomatoes their vibrant red color.
Tomatoes are packed with nutrients.
One cup of chopped or sliced raw tomatoes contains:
- 32 calories (kcal)
- 170.14 g of water
- 1.58 g of protein
- 2.2 g of fiber
- 5.8 g of carbohydrate
- 0 g cholesterol
Tomatoes also have a wealth of vitamin and mineral content, including:
- 18 mg of calcium
- 427 mg of potassium
- 43 mg of phosphorus
- 24.7 mg of vitamin C
- 1499 international units (IU) of vitamin A
Tomatoes also contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including:
- alpha-lipoic acid
- folic acid
The cooking of tomatoes appears to increase the availability of key nutrients, such as the carotenoids lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Stewed tomatoes provide more lutein and zeaxanthin than sun-dried tomatoes and raw cherry tomatoes.
This article tells you everything you need to know about tomatoes.
Antioxidant power: Though most of the phytonutrients and vitamins in tomatoes have potent antioxidant properties, lycopene is a standout. In a test tube study published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, researchers found that lycopene was most effective at deactivating singlet oxygen (a harmful free radical) of all the carotenoids. This could be because lycopene has a unique molecule shape that is highly effective in deactivating free radicals.
Strong bones: Lycopene may promote bone health and help prevent the development of osteoporosis. A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that participants with higher levels of lycopene in their blood were less likely to experience hip or nonvertebral fractures. Furthermore, a study published in Osteoporosis International found that postmenopausal women who added lycopene to their diets for four months saw decreased bone resorption (breakdown of bones).
Eyesight: Tomatoes contain both vitamin A and beta-carotene, which can turn into vitamin A when digested. Vitamin A is known to be necessary for vision. It is required to keep the retina working correctly and for low-light and color vision, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. It also plays a role in eye development.
Digestion: Mangieri noted tomatoes' high fiber content, which fills about 9 percent of your daily needs per cup. This can help promote smooth digestion, healthy stool bulk, and regularity, which helps maintain colorectal health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet may help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis (small, painful pouches on the colon).
Asthma: Some small-scale studies suggest that the lycopene content in tomatoes may help asthma sufferers. One study, published in Free Radical Research,found that taking tomato extract reduced lung inflammation. Another study, published in Allergy, found that a daily dose of lycopene for a week reduced exercise-induced asthma in 55 percent of participants. Researchers suspect this was because of an antioxidant effect in the lungs.
Prevent several types of cancer: A number of studies have been conducted that indicate that the high levels of lycopene in tomatoes work to reduce your chances of developing prostate, colorectal, and stomach cancer. Lycopene is a natural antioxidant that works effectively to slow the growth of cancerous cells. Cooked tomatoes produce even more lycopene, so go ahead and cook up a batch of your mom’s famous tomato soup.
Good for your heart: Because of Vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes, they are effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Therefore, by including tomatoes in your regular balanced diet you can effectively prevent heart attacks, strokes as well as many other heart-related problems that may threaten your life.
Vitamin boost: “Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium, both of which most people need more of,” notes Bowden. “Interesting factoid: gram for gram, tomato puree has more potassium than fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste has twice the potassium of the puree! Nonetheless, tomatoes, in general, are considered a high-potassium food.” For comparison, a medium tomato has 292 mg of potassium while a medium banana has 422 mg.
Reduce the effects of diabetes: Vegetables and fruit are always smart to include on your plate if you have diabetes. However, research has found that tomatoes actually seem to lower the oxidative stress, inflammation, atherosclerosis, and tissue damage that diabetes triggers. Having a tomato at lunch probably won’t immediately lower your sugar levels, but the long-term protective properties are not to be ignored.
Help you stay regular: As with most produce, tomatoes are a good source of fiber—one medium one contains 1.5 g. Fiber helps keep food moving through your digestive system so that you have regular bowel movements. It also can leave you feeling fuller for longer after a meal than other types of food like refined carbohydrates, which can be a boon for weight loss.
Safeguard your vision: If you need one more reason to eat more lycopene-rich foods, studies have linked lycopene consumption to a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and potentially cataracts. While you’re stocking up on tomatoes, grab some eggs and green leafy vegetables, both of which contain lutein and zeaxanthin—two other eye-healthy carotenoids.
Diabetes: Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, while people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams (g) of fiber. The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming around 25 g of fiber per day for women and an estimated 38 g per day for men.
Constipation: Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber, such as tomatoes, may help hydration and support normal bowel movements. Tomatoes are often described as a laxative fruit. Fiber adds bulk to stool and is helpful for reducing constipation. However, removing fiber from the diet has also demonstrated a positive impact on constipation.
Blood pressure: Maintaining a low sodium intake helps to maintain healthful blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important due to its widening effects on the arteries. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet the recommended daily potassium intake of 4,700 milligrams (mg). High potassium and low sodium intake are also associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from all causes.
Help Prevent Gallstones: As per a report by the Michigan State University, consuming tomatoes can reduce the risk of gallstones as well as kidney stones. A few ways to incorporate tomatoes into your diet for preventing gallstones could be adding the canned or stewed versions to your soups and stews. You can also make fresh salsa and add tomatoes as a topping on salads, meat, or eggs.
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