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11 Amazing Health Benefits Of Tomatoes You Didn't Know

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Health Benefits Of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the powerhouses of vitamins A and C, and niacin, as well as minerals like potassium and manganese; and also a great source of fiber and potent antioxidants like lycopene. Tomatoes can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce your risk of stroke, and improve insulin resistance. They offer protection against cancer, depression, and sunburns. They are good for your bones and vision and can be helpful if you have asthma.

Flavorful tomatoes are cherished in cuisines across the world. Whether you pick pear-shaped tomatoes or round ones, grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, you’ve got to admit that it’s difficult to imagine your favorite burger, salad, or sauce without them. But these delicious fruits don’t just add flavor to your food, They’re also nutritional powerhouses rich in vitamins A and C, and niacin, as well as minerals like potassium and manganese. And that’s not all, tomatoes are also a great source of fiber and potent antioxidants like lycopene. Try and eat organic tomatoes whenever you can. Not only do they have greater amounts of antioxidant polyphenols than conventionally grown ones, they’re also free of toxic chemicals.1 2 Now let’s take a look at the many ways in which tomatoes can benefit your health.

Health Benefits Of Tomatoes

1. Lower Your Risk Of Stroke

Did you know that the common tomato could lower your risk of stroke? According to research, people with greater amounts of lycopene in their blood have a 55% lower risk of getting a stroke. Experts suggest that this may be because, in addition to its ability to protect against damage caused by free radicals, lycopene can also reduce cholesterol and stop blood clots from forming.3

2. Protect You From Sunburn

Exposure to the harmful rays of the sun can damage your skin and even give you sunburn. But, according to research, tomatoes may be able to offer some protection. One study found that people who consumed tomato paste with olive oil over a period of 10 weeks experienced 40% less skin reddening when exposed to UV radiation compared to the control group which only had olive oil. The powerful antioxidant lycopene present in tomatoes is considered responsible for this.4

3. Tone Your Skin

Tomatoes also work as a great toner for your skin. Apply tomato slices or mashed tomato on your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes to take advantage of its astringent properties.5

4. Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels can clog your arteries and increase your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. But tomatoes can help you out if you’re worried about your cholesterol levels. One study found that a high dietary intake of tomato products (400 ml tomato juice and 30 mg tomato ketchup daily) for three weeks significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels. And that’s not all – it also increased LDL resistance to oxidation.6

Now, oxidized LDL plays a substantial role in the development of atherosclerosis and has a stronger association with heart disease than LDL cholesterol.7 So add some tomato to your diet, your heart will thank you for it!

5. Improve Insulin Resistance

If you have insulin resistance, your body fails to respond properly to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Over a period of time, this can lead to diabetes. However, tomatoes can improve insulin resistance. According to one study, people who had tomato juice four times a week for two months showed an improvement in insulin resistance. It was observed that their LDL cholesterol levels also fell during this period.8

6. Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is another condition that can lead to serious issues like heart disease and kidney failure. But tomatoes can work their wonders here too! Studies have found that tomatoes not only lower blood pressure but also increase the level of nitrates in your blood. This is a measure of improved endothelial function or healthy functioning of blood vessels.9

7. Rev Up Your Eyesight

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A. This fat-soluble vitamin is known to improve vision, particularly in poor light. So tomatoes may head off night blindness and even help to lower your chances of macular degeneration, a condition that causes loss of vision.10

8. Help With Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition where your airways, which carry air to and from your lungs, become sore and inflamed. Including tomatoes in your diet may be helpful if you suffer from this condition. According to a study, when people with asthma included tomato extract and tomato juice in their diet they had a better Asthma Control Score (which indicates whether your asthma is under control). It was observed that the tomato-enriched diet reduced the presence of white blood cells (neutrophils) that lead to inflammation in the airways. The researchers suggested that the antioxidant lycopene was responsible for this effect.11

9. Protect Against Depression

Feeling blue? Maybe a glass of tomato juice will help. A Japanese study that looked at depression among elderly people found that a tomato-rich diet was beneficial in preventing the symptoms of depression. Lycopene may play a role here – enhanced oxidative stress is associated with depression and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants (most notably, lycopene) which can fight oxidative stress.12

10. Protect Against Cancer

Various studies have found that the consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products can lower your risk for cancer. While the benefit seems strongest for cancers of the lung, stomach, and prostate, tomatoes also lower the risk for cancers of the breast, pancreas, esophagus, colon and rectum, oral cavity, and cervix. It is thought that numerous beneficial components present in tomatoes contribute synergistically to its anticancer properties. 13

11. Increase Your Bone Health

Tomatoes contain calcium and vitamin K, which are important for strengthening your bones. Research also indicates that lycopene may help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bones weaker and more fragile.14 It can also lower your risk for fractures.15

Perk Up You Meals With Tomatoes

Tomatoes are very versatile. You can chop them up into salsas, add them to salads, scoop out the seeds and stuff them, and incorporate them in a variety of curries, stews, and soups.16 But here’s something to keep in mind – cooking tomatoes boosts their level of lycopene though you lose some vitamin C in the process. To boot, having tomatoes with a little fat will improve your body’s ability to absorb lycopene.17 18

When Should You Not Have Tomatoes

Tomatoes may not be a good idea for you if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, which causes heartburn, since they’re acidic.19 They have also been found to trigger attacks in people with gout.20

References   [ + ]

1. Tomato. Department of Health & Human Services.
2. Are organic tomatoes better for your health?. National Health Service.
3. Karppi, Jouni, Jari A. Laukkanen, Juhani Sivenius, Kimmo Ronkainen, and Sudhir Kurl. “Serum lycopene decreases the risk of stroke in men A population-based follow-up study.” Neurology 79, no. 15 (2012): 1540-1547.
4. Stahl, Wilhelm, Ulrike Heinrich, Sheila Wiseman, Olaf Eichler, Helmut Sies, and Hagen Tronnier. “Dietary tomato paste protects against ultraviolet light–induced erythema in humans.” The Journal of nutrition 131, no. 5 (2001): 1449-1451.
5. Lust, John. The Herb Book: The Most Complete Catalog of Herbs Ever Published. Courier Corporation, 2014.
6. Silaste, Marja-Leena, Georg Alfthan, Antti Aro, Y. Antero Kesäniemi, and Sohvi Hörkkö. “Tomato juice decreases LDL cholesterol levels and increases LDL resistance to oxidation.” British Journal of Nutrition 98, no. 06 (2007): 1251-1258.
7. Holvoet, Paul, Tamara B. Harris, Russell P. Tracy, Peter Verhamme, Anne B. Newman, Susan M. Rubin, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Lisa H. Colbert, and Stephen B. Kritchevsky. “Association of high coronary heart disease risk status with circulating oxidized LDL in the well-functioning elderly.” Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology 23, no. 8 (2003): 1444-1448.
8. Tsitsimpikou, Christina, Konstantinos Tsarouhas, Nassia Kioukia-Fougia, Christina Skondra, Persefoni Fragkiadaki, Peter Papalexis, Panagiotis Stamatopoulos et al. “Dietary supplementation with tomato-juice in patients with metabolic syndrome: a suggestion to alleviate detrimental clinical factors.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 74 (2014): 9-13.
9. Paran, Esther, Yechiel N. Engelhard, Inbal Hazan-Hallevy, Yoav Sharoni, and Joseph Levy. “P-565: effect of standardized tomato extract on blood pressure, endothelial function and plasma lycopene levels in treated hypertensive patients.” American Journal of Hypertension 18, no. S4 (2005): 213A-213A.
10. Tomatoes provide many health benefits. Michigan State University.
11. Wood, Lisa G., Manohar L. Garg, Heather Powell, and Peter G. Gibson. “Lycopene-rich treatments modify noneosinophilic airway inflammation in asthma: proof of concept.” Free radical research 42, no. 1 (2008): 94-102.
12. Niu, Kaijun, Hui Guo, Masako Kakizaki, Yufei Cui, Kaori Ohmori-Matsuda, Lei Guan, Atsushi Hozawa et al. “A tomato-rich diet is related to depressive symptoms among an elderly population aged 70 years and over: a population-based, cross-sectional analysis.” Journal of affective disorders 144, no. 1 (2013): 165-170.
13. Giovannucci, Edward. “Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: review of the epidemiologic literature.” Journal of the national cancer institute 91, no. 4 (1999): 317-331.
14. Rao, L. G., E. S. Mackinnon, R. G. Josse, T. M. Murray, A. Strauss, and A. V. Rao. “Lycopene consumption decreases oxidative stress and bone resorption markers in postmenopausal women.” Osteoporosis international 18, no. 1 (2007): 109-115.
15. Sahni, Shivani, Marian T. Hannan, Jeffrey Blumberg, L. Adrienne Cupples, Douglas P. Kiel, and Katherine L. Tucker. “Protective effect of total carotenoid and lycopene intake on the risk of hip fracture: a 17‐year follow‐up from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 24, no. 6 (2009): 1086-1094.
16. Damrosch, Barbara and Eliot Coleman. The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook. Workman Publishing, 2013.
17. Italian chefs knew it all along: Cooking plump red tomatoes boosts disease-fighting, nutritional power, Cornell researchers say. Cornell Chronicle.
18. Lycopene-rich tomatoes linked to lower stroke risk. Harvard Publishing.
19. Diet and Gastroesophageal
Reflux Disease (GERD)
. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
20. Flynn, Tanya J., Murray Cadzow, Nicola Dalbeth, Peter B. Jones, Lisa K. Stamp, Jennie Harré Hindmarsh, Alwyn S. Todd, Robert J. Walker, Ruth Topless, and Tony R. Merriman. “Positive association of tomato consumption with serum urate: support for tomato consumption as an anecdotal trigger of gout flares.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders 16, no. 1 (2015): 196.