The Many Great Health Benefits of Tomatoes

16 Jun

health benefits of tomatoesThe American Tomato Products Wellness Council has identified hundreds of research studies from all over the world that prove that tomatoes are an important key to good health.

The Council, which works towards increasing awareness of the health benefits of tomatoes and tomato products, had, by May 2013, identified more than 400 scientific studies, all of which highlight tomatoes as a primary superfood of the 21st century.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

The lycopene content of tomatoes has been a hot topic for some time now. This powerful antioxidant is found most intensely in cooked tomato products and is known to reduce the risk of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Tomatoes are also excellent in terms of maintaining colon and pancreatic health, and they actively assist in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Australian research suggests that the juice of tomatoes reduces blood clots. This is good news for those suffering from type 2 diabetes, as drinking just 250 ml of tomato juice a day (without added salt) can do the world of good. It’s beneficial for those at risk of cardiovascular disease too, because it has a distinct blood-thinning effect.

It isn’t just the lycopene in tomatoes that is beneficial. Research shows that there is a bunch of other phytonutrients in whole tomatoes that are especially good. Like lycopene, they also help to minimize prostate cancer and thrombotic diseases, specifically stroke and heart attack.

The anti-inflammatory properties of tomatoes have been well documented, but Italian researchers have reported that just one glass of tomato juice every day will significantly reduce inflammation by as much as 35% in just a month. Combined with this, it can help to reduce stress too.

Since they are high in Vitamin K, tomatoes are also good for bone health – and they been found to be a significant factor in reducing migraines in some patients.

The Nutritional Profile of Tomatoes

There is absolutely no doubt that the bright red fruit of the tomato plant, in all its guises, is packed with goodness.

They are loaded with vitamins, mainly C, A and K, but also B1, B6 and E.

They are an excellent source of minerals, particularly molybdenum, potassium, manganese and chromium, as well as folate, copper, niacin, magnesium, iron, pantothenic acid and phosphorous.

They also contain much needed dietary fibre and valuable protein.

The Best Way to Eat Tomatoes

According to the Tomato Products Wellness Council, while processed products, including tomato paste, are all wonderfully beneficial (largely due to the fact that they are highly concentrated), there is strong evidence that whole, fresh tomatoes are best. When buying canned or processed tomatoes, the Council advises that those made with peels are best.

If even a food deserved the title “whole food”, it is surely the humble tomato!

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