Consuming tomatoes regularly is one of the best habits you could adapt.
High fruit and vegetable intake is also associated with healthy skin and hair, increased energy and lower weight. Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.
Some health benefits of consuming tomatoes, fruits and vegetables of all kinds are impressive. As the proportion of plant foods in the diet increases, the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes goes down.
Whether you refer to a tomato as a fruit or a vegetable, there is no doubt that consuming tomatoes are a nutrient-dense, super-food that most people should be eating more of.
Tomato has been referred to as a “functional food,” a food that goes beyond providing just basic nutrition.
Due to their beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene, tomatoes also play a role in preventing chronic disease and deliver other health benefits
Despite the popularity of the tomato, only 200 years ago it was thought to be poisonous in the U.S., likely because the plant belongs to the nightshade family, of which some species are truly poisonous.
Here are some of health benefits of consuming tomatoes:
As an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.
2) Eye health
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene, powerful antioxidants that have been shown to protect the eyes against light-induced damage associated with the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) recently found that people with high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin (both carotenoids found in tomatoes) had a 35 percent reduction in the risk of neovascular AMD.
The synthesis of collagen an essential component of the skin, hair, nails and connective tissue is reliant on vitamin C. A deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy. As vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, a low intake is associated with increased damage from sunlight, pollution and smoke, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, blemishes and other adverse health effects.
Adequate folic acid intake is essential before and during pregnancy to protect against neural tube defects in infants.
Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber like tomatoes can help with hydration and promote regular bowel movements. Fiber adds bulk to stool and is essential for minimizing constipation.
6) Blood pressure
Maintaining a low sodium intake helps to keep blood pressure healthy; however, increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilatation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation. A high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying from all causes.
7) Prostate Cancer
Lycopene has been linked with prostate cancer prevention in several studies. 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.
8) 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 the average 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. Tomatoes also contain folic acid which helps to keep homocysteine levels in check, thereby reducing a risk factor for heart disease.
In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).