While tomatoes are technically a fruit, nutritionally, they are classified as vegetables because of their low carbohydrate and sugar content. But they are extremely high in nutrients that improve heart health, vision and diabetes management. Tomatoes are also a well-known cancer fighter, and they may help stave off coronavirus.
According to Health.com, a single tomato provides 40% of the daily minimum of vitamin C, which healthcare experts say can help ward off many diseases. It also contains vitamin A, which helps boost the immune system, and vitamin K to support strong bones.
Here are more benefits:
- Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends tomatoes as a “superfood” to include in a daily eating plan. “The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium,” the ADA stated. Tomatoes are also digested slowly, which means blood glucose levels will experience a slow rise.
- Prostate cancer. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes that gives the vegetable its rich, red color. Dr. Jonathan Simons, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, told Newsmax that “cooked tomatoes are a good choice to prevent prostate cancer, as the lycopene may reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.”
- Heart health. Heart disease is the world’s most common cause of death, but several studies have demonstrated that the lycopene and beta-carotene found in tomatoes helped reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in middle-aged men. Since tomatoes contain folate, eating them regularly helps maintain healthy homocysteine levels, which also helps lower the risk of cardiovascular events. The high potassium level in tomatoes not only contributes to cardiovascular health but also protects muscles from deterioration, preserves bone density and reduces the production of kidney stones.
- Eye health. According to Medical News Today, the lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene in tomatoes protect the eyes from light-induced damage, the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.
- Digestive health. The fluid and fiber in tomatoes may help ease constipation, according to Health.com. But be aware that the acidity can also trigger acid reflux in some people.
- Skin health. Scientists believe that the lycopene in tomatoes is a key factor in boosting collagen production in the skin to keep it firm and youthful. Cooking helps release more lycopene, say experts. Adding olive oil to the cooked tomatoes reaps even more skin health benefits as the oil boosts lycopene absorption into the bloodstream.
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