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Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), the Love Apple is a popular vegetable with high anti oxidant. They are sweet and juicy and healthy. Tomatoes are very versatile as they can be eaten as a salad, in a sandwich or as gravy for vegetables not to forget the all important sauce.
The tomato is the fruit of the plant Lycopersicon esculentum. (Botanically speaking, tomato is not only a fruit, but also a berry since it is formed from a single ovary.) Originally, tomato was named after the food family to which it belongs the Solanaceae (sometimes called solanoid or nightshade ) family. The botanical name Solanum lycopersicum for tomatoes has now largely been replaced by the name Lycopersicon esculentum. (The genus/species name Lycopersicon esculentum is also sometimes used to refer to tomatoes.)
Although tomatoes are often closely associated with Italian cuisine, they are actually originally native to the western side of South America, in the region occupied by Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the western half of Bolivia. The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador are also believed to be part of tomatoes native area. The first type of tomato grown is thought to have more resembled the smaller sized cherry tomato than the larger varieties.
4. Nutritional breakdown of tomatoes
One medium tomato (approximately 123 grams) provides 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta carotene and lutein.
As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as under U.S. customs regulations, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.
6. Prostate Cancer
Lycopene has been linked with prostate cancer prevention in several studies.7 According to John Erdman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, There s very good, strong, epidemiological support for increased consumption of tomato products and lower incidence of prostate cancer.
7. Colorectal Cancer
Beta carotene consumption has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, some studies have shown that people who have diets rich in tomatoes may have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, especially cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach. Further human based research is needed to find out what role lycopene might play in the prevention or treatment of cancer.
8. Blood pressure
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.
9. Heart health
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and choline content in tomatoes all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, M.D., M.S., an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams of fiber. Tomatoes contain a chemical called lycopene, which is thought to play a role in preventing cancer. It
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