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You may have all had a wisdom blast through those facts where they claim that a Tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable. Well I’m not here to tell you if it’s a fruit. How would it matter? You aren’t going to add it to your food salad or your ice cream right? Well jokes apart, since tomatoes are the most basic item of consumption found in all kitchens, we often miss out trying to find out what are its nutritional advantages. Here’s an article throwing light on the advantages and disadvantages of tomatoes.
Nutrition of Tomatoes:
Tomato is an all-rounder when it comes to nutritional values. It contains vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate and thiamine. It also contains minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and copper. It also contains dietary fiber and proteins. Lycopene, which is an organic compound, is also present in tomatoes.
Carbs in Tomatoes
One cup of tomatoes contains just 5.8 gm of carbs. It is perfect for people who are on low-carb diets. Usually, anyone on a 2000 calorie daily- intake requires 130 gm of carbs so tomatoes on your plate ensure a low-carb diet.
18 Health Benefits of Tomatoes:
1. Antioxidant Agent:
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an organic compound as well as an antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce the chances of causing cancer as they prevent the formation of free radicals in our body. Tomatoes have shown to prevent prostate cancer, cervical cancer, cancer of stomach, rectum as well as pharynx and esophageal cancer. It also protects against breast and mouth cancer.
2. Rich source of Vitamins and Mineral:
We read above how tomatoes are a storehouse of various vitamins and minerals. It is also a rich source of iron. The iron in tomatoes is beneficial in regulation of blood formation and circulation. Vitamin K in tomatoes helps in blood clotting and prevents excessive blood loss during an injury.
3. Protects the Heart:
Lycopene protects the heart as it prevents serum lipid oxidation. It thus prevents cardiovascular diseases. These lipids are responsible for fat deposition in arteries and veins in our body.
4. Tomatoes improve vision of the eyes:
Presence of vitamin A in tomatoes helps in better eyesight. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that can be formed from an excess of beta-carotene in the body. A lot of vision problems occur due to the negative effects of free radicals and vitamin A, being a powerful antioxidant, can help prevent them.
5. Aids in Digestion:
Tomatoes aid in a healthy digestion. They prevent jaundice, constipation and diarrhea. They also remove all the toxins from our body. Fiber content in the tomatoes help in providing roughage which helps in better excretion of waste products.
6. Lowers Hypertension:
Hypertension is reduced due to the presence of potassium. Potassium reduces the tension in the blood vessels and arteries. This increases the circulation and lowers the stress on the heart by eliminating hypertension.
7. Tomato Manages Diabetes:
Studies suggests that it has been effective in controlling type 2 diabetes.
8. Skin Care:
One of the secret preserved in the Grandma’s casket is that tomatoes when ground into a pulp and rubbed on the skin vanishes all the blemishes and tans caused due to exposure under sunlight. It also helps to treat the open pores of the skin which are the most vulnerable areas where the dirt from the environment deposits itself. It also prevents the signs of aging. It removes the dead skin cells, acts as a natural moisturizer and can be used as a natural sunscreen.
9. Prevents loss of Hair:
Having to deal with Hair loss problems is the worst nightmare for all men and women alike. You could use tomatoes to your rescue from this problem. Apply the tomato pulp on the scalp and rest it for some time until it dries. You could ten wash it off with cold water. A regular dose of tomato pulp to your scalp will show proven results against hair loss and helps in hair growth. For better results, repeat the process atleast 2-3 times in a week.
10. Moisturizes Hair:
Using tomato pulp over your scalp not only reduces hair loss, but also moisturizes the hair for a smoother texture, silkier touch and a great shine. You would not have to worry to treat the frizziness of your hair with something other than tomatoes. It also treats your flaky scalp and dandruff. For best results and 2 tea spoons of lemon juice to the pulp to treat your dandruff. It is the only solution to so many hair related problems
11. Prevents Blood Clot:
Lycopene and the fruit low present on the seeds of tomatoes help to reduce blood clotting in our body. Blood clotting is the major reason for heart diseases these days. It thus refrains the blood from clotting in the nerves preventing major heart illnesses.
12. Consuming Tomatoes prevents acidosis:
The ideal pH to be maintained in our body is 7.365. But due to our irregular food patterns, stress, inappropriate eating habits, the body’s pH balance could be disturbed and a higher concentration of acid could be noticed in our bodies. The flesh of the tomatoes is basic in nature. When consumed raw, the basic properties in them balances the acid in the body. This normalizes the pH balance in our body and prevents various bodily issues like congestion and acidity.
13. Boosts Immunity:
Apart from individual benefits that are provided by the various nutrients and minerals present in Tomatoes, they all together contribute to an improvised immunity of our body. An improved immunity would mean that the body’s capacity to fight diseases enhances and thus keeps various common illnesses away from the body. Those with a good immunity do not succumb to problems of common cold, body aches, fever, viral contractions very often.
14. Less fats:
It contains 0 grams fats and thus could be opted more often for consumption than those vegetables and fruits that contain higher fats.
15. Muscle Building:
Tomatoes are a natural source of protein which is an essential nutrient for growth and muscle building. They also look after the wear and tear of cells in our body.
16. Good for Bones and Teeth:
Consuming tomatoes would mean that you are providing ample calcium to your body. Being a calcium rich food, it is excellent for the strength of our bones and teeth.
17. Tomatoes Control Heart Rate:
Potassium in tomatoes is responsible for maintaining an optimal heart rate in our body.
18. Works as a filling Food:
Do you know most nutritionists advice consuming one full raw tomato amongst meals in order to keep you full? Tomatoes contain high water content. This keeps your stomach satiated for longer. It could thus even aid in managing your weight.
How to choose the right tomato?
Ripe tomatoes are best for consumption. These tomatoes have their sugar, acidic and aroma imparting compounds well intact. Make sure you do not select the over ripe ones. The key to differentiate is to check if your tomato is soft from any of its side. If not, pick that up for your grocery. If you have picked up raw tomatoes which are slightly yellow to green in colour, you could store them overnight in a paper bag with bananas or apples. The ethylene gas emitted by these fruits quickens the ripening process.
Store them away from sunlight and preferably at room temperature. If you store tomatoes in your refrigerator, take them out nearly 30 minutes before adding them to your recipe. This will bring it back to normal temperature and enhance its flavor and juiciness.
Side-effects of Tomatoes:
Economics has a rule. When a particular thing is consumed until a specific limit, it is nutritious and has its benefits. Thus it is much in demand. Once the upper limit of the consumption is transgressed, it becomes detrimental instead of beneficial to our health. This law is the law of diminishing marginal utility. I want to relate this fundamental concept to draw your attention to the fact that over eating of just one particular food item can instead of providing benefits, cause illnesses in our body. This applies to tomatoes as well.
Over consumption can cause acidity and heartburn. It can also lead to kidney recurrence of kidney stone problems amongst some people. Even when you apply it to your skin, first test it in the area behind your ear. If your skin is too sensitive to handle the tomato pulp, it will turn red and indicate that you are not supposed to use it on your sensitive skin.
Inspite of all of these shortcomings, Tomatoes indeed act like one bow shooting at several health problems in a single shot. In most cases, people do not commonly face any problems due to tomatoes In special circumstances like the above, you need to take the signals from your body when you consume these food items. And as I always say, moderation is the key to good health!