Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and are native to South America. While they are mainly considered as fruits, they are prepared and eaten as vegetables. They are ubiquitous in many cuisines around the world. The tomato is used in salads, sauces, soups, juices, and main dishes of different types of cuisines. In this article, we will be looking at the nutrition facts about tomatoes.
Aside from enhancing the taste of food, tomatoes are also considered superfoods since they provide several vitamins and minerals the body needs. Research has also shown that these nutrients have numerous health benefits, including the prevention of some life-threatening diseases.
Nutritional Facts about Tomatoes
The following are the health benefits of including tomatoes in one’s everyday diet.
1. Healthy Heart
- Studies have shown that the lycopene content of tomatoes can reduce the risk of heart disease. This phytonutrient lowers lipid peroxidation, which happens when oxygen damages fat in the blood vessels. Excessive damage to fat in blood vessels can eventually lead to a blockage in the blood vessel and increase the risk of heart attacks.
- Potassium in tomatoes also contributes to ensuring the heart remains healthy. High potassium intake and low sodium intake are good for the prevention of heart disease. Potassium can also protect muscles from deteriorating and lessens kidney stone production.
- Tomatoes also contain folate, which balances homocysteine levels. Homocysteine can cause proteins to break down and increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks. When homocysteine levels are managed using folate, it will lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Research has also shown that excessive platelet clumping can be prevented by the phytonutrients in tomatoes. Excessive platelet clumping can result in unwanted blood clotting and blockages in the blood vessels.
2. Prevent Cancer
- Vitamin C in tomatoes can reduce the presence of free radicals in the body. These free radicals play a role in the formation of cancer cells.
- Studies have also shown that the development of tumors in prostate cancer was prevented with high intake of beta-carotene, which are typically found in tomatoes.
- The antioxidant properties of lycopene can also lower the risk of stomach cancer.
- Tomatoes also contain alpha-tomatine, which is a saponin phytonutrient found in the fruits. Aside from reducing the number of prostate cancer cells, it can also slow down the growth of lung cancer cells.
- The nutritional fact that tomatoes can help prevent cancer is unknown to most people.
3. Strong Bones
- Lycopene can help in promoting bone health based on a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis development. This carotenoid can also decrease bone resorption or the breakdown of bones among post-menopausal women.
- Potassium in tomatoes is known to help in the preservation of bone mineral density.
- Tomatoes also contain vitamin K1, which is important for maintaining good bone health.
4. Good Eyesight
- The lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene in tomatoes are powerful antioxidants that can help protect the eyes. They also prevent cataract development and the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Tomatoes are also good sources of Vitamin A, which is needed to maintain good eyesight. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University said this vitamin is needed to ensure the retina is working properly. It also ensures the retina works when in low-light situations.
5. Smoother Skin
- The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University revealed that Vitamin A and Vitamin C can help the body maintain smooth skin. Vitamin A can be found in retinoids, which are typically used in anti-aging treatments. On the other hand, vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, which keeps the skin appear youthful. It also helps in healing wounds.
- Beta-carotene in tomatoes may also help protect the skin against sunburn. A study showed that participants taking beta-carotene supplements for ten weeks experienced lower sunburn rates. It also showed an increase in sunburn protection levels as over time.
6. Good Digestion
- A tomato nutrition fact is that it is good for digestion. Tomatoes are good sources of fiber. This high fiber content promotes good digestion and helps reduce constipation. Regular bowel movement also promotes colorectal health. These types of diets may also prevent the risk of hemorrhoids, according to the Mayo Clinic.
7. Prevent Cognition Decline
- Beta-carotene in tomatoes can help prevent a decline in cognitive ability. An 18-year study conducted among men taking beta-carotene supplements showed that the beta-carotene reduced the risk of losing the cognitive ability. While the lifestyle of the participants may have been a factor, researchers have said the antioxidant properties of beta-carotene may have caused this situation. Research also showed people who have tomatoes in their diet have a lower risk of experiencing neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
People initially shunned tomatoes since they thought the fruits were not edible, but it eventually became a part of the everyday diet of people around the world.
I hope that this article on the nutritional facts about tomatoes was helpful. If you are interested, visit the health facts page!