Spotlight On: Tomatoes
The origin of the humble tomato dates back to the Mexican natives, however due to colonisation, they’re now widely grown all around the world and are scientifically referred to as ‘Solanum lycopersicum’
Be it a curry or simple salad, tomatoes form the base for many of our modern-day meals. Tomatoes not only add flavour but also offer a myriad of health benefits. Tomatoes are a staple food in many nations even today, due to its fast and easy cultivation.
Here are a few major benefits of tomatoes;
Tomatoes are a fabulous source of vitamin c, vitamin K and vitamin A all of which are good for skin, blood flow and eyes health.
They also contain significant amounts of thiamin, folate and vitamin B6 which promote strong hair and nails.
They are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper. They also have dietary fibre and protein, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that also contribute to the overall health benefits that tomatoes can confer to our health.
Anti-oxidants that protect you against cancer
Lycopene, part of the carotenoid family, is a pigment that helps give red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, their color.1 It's also one of the free radical-fighting antioxidants. Free radicals are damaging molecules that float around in the body disrupting cells and promoting disease. Antioxidants, such as lycopene, destroy free radicals so they can't attach to your cells and wreak havoc on your hard-working immune system.
Scientific studies show that lycopene helps prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. There is also some evidence that cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and cervix could be reduced with increased lycopene intake. This hearty antioxidant provides a two-for-the-price-of-one deal as it may help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
The best sources of lycopene are tomatoes and tomato products, which is where about 80 percent of lycopene in the average Australia diet comes from.
The lycopene in tomatoes can protect you against cardiovascular diseases. Consuming tomatoes regularly helps decrease the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood, reducing the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.
One study has found that tomatoes can substantially alleviate inflammation in the lungs, thereby preventing asthma.
Another study has discovered that after physical exertion the effects of asthma decreased in the majority of participants after taking lycopene daily.
For those suffering from asthma or those who want to keep their air passages fit and healthy, tomatoes are a good choice.
Tomatoes can help your bones stay healthy.
Again, we find that lycopene is instrumental in maintaining your health.
Lycopene protects bone health by preventing the onset of osteoporosis.
Studies have demonstrated that lycopene can reduce chances of bone fractures in the limbs (47), and a study using post-menopausal women as subjects showed that it also has the power to decrease risks of bone breakdown after menopause
Therefore, tomatoes can be terrific for fighting against weakening bones, especially as you age.