Tomatoes are versatile and nutritious. They are low in calories and high in fiber and vitamin C. People often eat them raw, but they’re also delicious boiled or steamed or even canned.
The tomato is a member of the nightshade family (Solanum lycopersicum). This group includes many vegetables—including bell peppers and peas. The name “tomato” comes from its color range, which ranges from yellow to white. There are several varieties that have been bred and grown around the world, such as African green (commonly called chili), Japanese red, Chinese pink, Italian cherry, Mexican lemon, Korean plum, Spanish persimmon, Russian blackberry, Ukrainian kiwi, American pomelo, Hungarian paprika, French dandelion, German zucchini, Thai phaeap. All types use similar pollination methods, including wind.
A few of these tomatoes grow wild in Mexico, and there are several popular species, such as chilboucana and jibbaria. Although some people know this fruit as an ingredient of certain foods, it’s believed most likely originated in Mexico.
Tomatoes have a variety of uses, but their health benefits may be surprising. Here are some tips on eating more tomatoes:
1. Tomatoes Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Studies have shown that tomatoes can lower cholesterol levels when used topically to treat acne breakouts. Cooking tomatoes helps fight oxidation and other degradation of antioxidants.
2. Eating More Tomato Will Help You Lose Weight
Eating the right amount of vegetables, including tomatoes, is important for weight loss. One study found that adults who ate more fruits and vegetables were more successful at maintaining healthy body mass indexes than those who ate fewer servings.
3. Tomatoes Are A Natural Antioxidant Booster
Tomatoes contain powerful enzymes such as lutein, carotenoids, lycopene, polyphenols, caffeic acid, and ascorbic acid that help combat free radicals that can cause inflammation and cell damage, as well as cellular aging.
To reap these benefits, eat tomatoes raw, grilled, roasted, or sliced into salads. Raw tomatoes provide the maximum antioxidant value. However, cooked tomatoes retain more antioxidants, depending on how you cook them. If you’re not sure, try adding diced tomatoes to one batch of your meal. It’ll give you more protein while boosting the antioxidant content.
4. Red Wine May Aid Your Heart Health
Studies have shown that drinking wine has little effect on blood pressure, although a glass of red wine daily lowers systolic blood pressure for most people. For some people, wine intake increases heart-healthy cholesterol levels. Find out if you need to avoid wine, and discuss with your doctor what wine is best for you based on your unique lifestyle, nutrition profile, and other factors.
5. Tomatoes Improve Digestive Tract Healing and Reduce Inflammation
Tomatoes contain anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by lowering the carcinogen level in the colon. Other studies have demonstrated that lycopene is associated with improved circulation and decreased joint pain.
6. Tomato Diet Tips
You can add tomatoes to your meals without much change in diet. Just try using smaller pieces and cooking with the skin on. And don’t toss the skins; instead use them to create sauces. If you’ve never had tomatoes before, start with a few slices—and then you’ll get the hang of them.
Tomatoes are high in fiber (9 grams per cup) and other nutrients such as vitamins K, C, and B6, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper, and folate. Some research indicates that one serving of tomatoes contains 5% of daily dietary needs for calcium, 8% of the Daily Value (DV) for B12, and 3% of DV for vitamin C.
Tomatoes are versatile and affordable. Studies show consuming tomatoes decreases triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in people who have high cholesterol. Many Americans consume too many tomatoes without knowing what they’re doing. Aim for two or three medium-sized tomatoes per day—and aim for 2 cups of cooked tomatoes.