Tomatoes go well with everything: salads, sauces, burgers, stews, etc. There are so many varieties, and there’s nothing sweeter than fully ripe tomatoes. The nightshade fruit has great nutritional value, and offers a small number of calories.
A cup (180g) of diced tomato offers:
- 32 calories
- 8% fiber
- 29% vitamin A
- 7.6% vitamin B3
- 5% vitamin B6
- 6.7% folate (vitamin B9)
- 41% vitamin C
- 6% vitamin E
- 12–16% vitamin K (for men and women, respectively)
- 12% potassium vs negligible sodium
- 6% phosphorus
- 4% magnesium
- 1% calcium
Health benefits of tomatoes
1. Lower risk of stroke
High lycopene levels in blood lower the risk of suffering a stroke by 55%. The risk of ischemic stroke or stroke caused by blood clots is lowered by 59%.
Lycopene prevents free radical damage, lowers cholesterol levels and prevents the formation of blood clots. Tomatoes are great for your heart and pack a healthy amount of potassium.
2. Lower cholesterol
When oxidized, LDL cholesterol causes inflammation in arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis and high risk of heart disease. Tomatoes lower cholesterol thanks to their high content of lycopene, beta carotene and gamma carotene.
By taking 400 ml tomato juice and 30 mg tomato ketchup every day for three weeks you will lower your LDL and total cholesterol. This will also increase the ability of circulating LDL cholesterol to resist oxidation by 13%.
Overweight women increased their good or HDL cholesterol levels by eating 2 Roma tomatoes every day for a month.
So stop taking statins and take 25 mg of lycopene every day. A half cup of canned tomato puree contains 27 mg of lycopene. A half cup of canned juice has 22 mg of lycopene. Raw tomatoes have less than this.
3. Improve insulin resistance
A study has found that by drinking tomato juice four times a week for two months you can improve your insulin resistance.
4. Lower blood pressure
Eat tomatoes more often to increase lycopene levels in blood. Tomatoes lower systolic blood pressure by 5.6 mmHg within a few weeks. The fruit doesn’t have the same effect on diastolic pressure. Vitamin C and potassium in tomatoes help you regulate blood pressure.
5. Improve vision
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin known for its ability to improve vision. Eat tomatoes to prevent night blindness and lower your risk of macular degeneration.
6. Relieve asthma
Tomato extract and tomato juice provide better asthma control score. Tomatoes reduce the number of white blood cells (neutrophils) that cause inflammation in the airways, thanks to their lycopene content.
7. Prevent depression
According to a Japanese study, tomato-rich diet prevents the symptoms of depression in elderly. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, and we all know that depression occurs as a result of free radical damage. Vitamin C and E fight free radicals, too.
Tryptophan in tomatoes is a building block of serotonin or the happy hormone. Combine your tomatoes with carbs and omega-3 fats. In other words, eat tomato sauce, olive oil and whole-wheat pasta. Carbs reduce sugar levels which leads to increased serotonin levels.
8. Stronger bones
Calcium and vitamin K make your bones stronger. Lycopene prevents the development of osteoporosis and lowers the risk of bone fracture.
9. Great for fetal development
Tomatoes may be bad for those with acid reflux but their health benefits outweigh this risk.
Vitamins A and C and folate in tomatoes are great for pregnant women. The daily value for expecting moms is 4.5% daily. Folate has a big role in the development of the neural tube of your baby. Insufficient folate intake leads to spina bifida and other birth defects.
For optimal results, combine your tomatoes with steamed asparagus, roasted garlic and olive oil. Tomatoes cannot meet your daily needs of folate (600mcg) on their own.
Lycopene supplements lead to low birth weight, so try to get your lycopene from tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit.
10. Promote weight loss
What makes tomatoes a great choice for those who need to lose weight? They are 95% water and one cup gives you 32 calories, 2.2 g fiber, zero fat and cholesterol, and 4.73 g sugar that becomes glucose slowly. Tomatoes have shown an ability to reduce body weight, total fat, belly fat and BMI.
A study found that drinking 280ml of tomato juice every day for two months increased their adiponectin by 27%. It’s a hormone that boosts metabolism, fights inflammation and increases insulin sensitivity.
Lycopene also reduced MCP-1, an inflammation-inducing protein by 23%. The esculeoside A in tomatoes increases energy metabolism, meaning your body burns calories even when you rest.
11. Protect from sunburns and tone skin
Eating your sunscreen? Of course, as long as it comes in the shape of tomato sauce. Lycopene in tomatoes protects skin from dangerous sun rays.
Consuming tomato paste and olive oil for 10 weeks reduces skin reddening by 40 percent. Tomatoes reduce wrinkles and other age-related signs. Tomatoes have a protective factor of 1.3, which means you will have to use sunscreen or creams before tanning or going for a walk.
Apply tomato slices or puree on your face. Let it work for 15 minutes to use its astringent power.
12. Fights negative effect of smoking
Cigarettes are unhealthy, of course, but filters packed with lycopene and grape seed extract treated with activated carbon block 90% of gas-phase free radicals in cigarette smoke.
This was confirmed by studies conducted by Cornell University. Unfortunately, these antioxidants lose their power when stored which means you can only use lycopene from tomatoes to block free radicals from tobacco.
Tomato juice prevents emphysema as confirmed by a mouse study. Emphysema is a lung disorder manifested through inflamed air sacs. It’s triggered by tobacco smoke.
Heavy smokers should reduce their beta-carotene intake because chemicals in tobacco react with it and release cancer-causing chemicals.
Add tomatoes to your meals
You can use tomatoes in many different ways. Prepare a nice salad, add them to stews or make stuffed potatoes. Cooking tomatoes increase lycopene levels but destroys vitamin C. Add healthy fat to improve the absorption of lycopene.
Tomatoes are not recommended in the following cases:
- GERD – Tomatoes are acidic, and you shouldn’t eat them if you deal with this condition.
- GOUT – Tomatoes trigger attacks in individuals dealing with this condition.
- Heart disease – You shouldn’t potassium-rich foods if you take beta-blockers. Eat tomatoes less often.