10 reasons to eat tomatoes

10 reasons to eat tomatoes

Tomatoes are sometimes mistaken as vegetables, but they are actually fruits from the nightshade family. They are sweet, juicy, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

While they taste delicious raw, they are more potent when they are cooked, as their nutrition gets unlocked.

Cooked tomatoes (such as in tomato sauce or tomato paste) not only increases the lycopene content that can be absorbed by your body, but also increases the total antioxidant activity,” explains Dr. Joseph Mercola, a leading physician and nutrition expert. “Consume your tomatoes, whether raw or cooked, with some type of fat, such as olive oil, since lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient,” Mercola adds.

Let’s look at 10 reasons to eat tomatoes.

Antioxidant rich:
They are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E and lycopene. Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of oxidative stress, which may help strengthen the immune system and ward off diseases. Dr. Andrew Weil explains, “Oxidative stress is the total burden placed on organisms by the constant production of free radicals in the normal course of metabolism plus whatever other pressures the environment brings to bear (natural and artificial radiation, toxins in air, food and water; and miscellaneous sources of oxidizing activity, such as tobacco smoke).” The effects of oxidative stress are often linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and many types of cancers.

Bone health:
We don’t often think of antioxidants when it comes to bone health, but it may be time to start paying more attention.

In a study by St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada, lycopene was removed from the diets of postmenopausal women for a period of 4 weeks. The results showed that the women were much more susceptible to oxidative stress on their bones when they didn’t have lycopene in their diet.

Eye health:
Tomatoes are high in vitamin A, which is great for the eyes. This vitamin helps protect the cornea, which is the surface of the eye.

May help fight cancer:
Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants that may help kill the free radicals that are known to cause cancer. Organic tomatoes have been linked to reducing the risk of prostate cancer in a University of Illinois study.

May help fight kidney cancer:
Tomatoes are good sources of nutrients like lycopene, and vitamin C and E. These ingredients act as antioxidants and may help prevent cancer. Lycopene may especially potent against kidney cancer. In a study from Wayne State University, those who consumed lycopene had a 39 percent lower risk of renal cell carcinoma than those who reported a lower intake of lycopene.

Heart health:
Organic tomatoes have shown many potent heart health benefits, especially in the area of heart disease. They are rich in vitamin C and E, which are heart healthy. However, lycopene has been the main focus of studies on tomatoes and heart health.

A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that lycopene had the ability to reduce the damage of oxygen on fats in cells lining the bloodstream. When these fats are damaged by oxygen, they can trigger inflammation and eventually serious conditions such as atherosclerosis.

Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that tomato juice can lower LDL cholesterol, which according to the American Heart Association is a major risk for heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

Regulates blood sugar:
Tomatoes may help regulate blood sugar, which may be very useful for persons with diabetes. They contain chromium, which is an essential nutrient for metabolism as it regulates blood sugar.

Rich in vitamin C:
These fruits are a great source of vitamin C. One cup of tomatoes contains 22.9 mg of vitamin C, which is 38 percent of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C is believed to have potent immune boosting properties. It is also essential for creating collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Collagen is the main protein in the structure of connective tissues.

Skin health:
Since tomatoes are high in lycopene, they are great for the skin. Lycopene is a protective antioxidant compound, and it has potent UV blocking properties that give it anti-aging benefits. They are a good source of vitamin A, with 1241 IU per cup, which is 25 percent of the recommended daily value. Vitamin A has potent antioxidant properties and is known to help reduce wrinkles, fade brown spots, and smoothen skin.

Weight loss:
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, with 1.8g per cup. Organic tomatoes are also low in calories, with only 27 per cup. Foods that are fresh, low in calories, and high in dietary fiber are key to a successful weight loss diet.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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REFERENCES:
1. “What Are the Health Benefits of Tomatoes?Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 22 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
2. “Can Tomatoes Slice Prostate Cancer Risk?Today’s Dietician. Today’s Dietician, June 2012. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
3. “Tomato Compounds Enlisted in Fight against Prostate Cancer.” NutraIngredients-USA.com. NutraIngredients-USA.com, 02 Dec. 2010. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
4. “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Tomatoes, Red, Ripe, Raw, Year round Average [Includes USDA Commodity Food A238, A233].” Self Nutrition Data. Self Nutrition Data, n.d. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
5. “Why Tomatoes Are More Nutritious Than Other Fruits.” Mercola.com. Mercola.com, 25 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
6. “Tomato Products, Lycopene, and Prostate Cancer: A Review of the Epidemiological Literature.” Journal of Nutrition. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 01 Aug. 2005. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
7. “Tomatine-Containing Green Tomato Extracts Inhibit Growth of Human Breast, Colon, Liver, and Stomach Cancer Cells.” ACS Publications. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2009. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
8. “Tomatoes, Lycopene-containing Foods and Cancer Risk.” Nature.com. British Journal of Cancer, 2011. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
9. “Protective Activity of Tomato Products on in Vivo Markers of Lipid Oxidation.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. European Journal of Nutrition, Aug. 2003. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
10. “Tomato Juice Decreases LDL Cholesterol Levels and Increases LDL Resistance to Oxidation.National Center for Biotechnology Information. British Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2007. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
11. “Why Cholesterol Matters.” American Heart Association. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
12. “Dietary Restriction of Lycopene for a Period of One Month Resulted in Significantly Increased Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress and Bone Resorption in Postmenopausal.” Springer. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 01 Oct. 2010. Web. 22 Jun 2015.
13. “Lycopene May Ward off Kidney Cancer in Older Women.” Wayne State University. Wayne State University, 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.
14. “Antioxidant Micronutrients and the Risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma in the Women’s Health Initiative Cohort.” Wiley Online Library. Cancer, 9 Oct. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.
15. “Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid).” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 22 June 2015.
16. “Topical Lycopene Improves Skin Cellular Function.” LifeExtension.com. LifeExtension.com, Sept. 2012. Web. 22 June 2015.

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