7 Compelling Benefits of Consuming Tomatoes

Whether you consider tomatoes, fruits or vegetables, this highly versatile food can be used in many different ways. You can eat tomatoes in salads, cooked into foods and sauces, juiced, or fresh off the vine. There are hundreds of varieties and tomatoes come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors.

But did you know that tomatoes have many health benefits too, according to Healthline, including a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers. Here are seven reasons you should include tomatoes in your diet.

Packed Full of Nutrition

Tomatoes are highly nutritious and are a good source of many vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, K, folate, and potassium. Tomatoes also contain many beneficial plant compounds including the flavonoid naringenin and the  antioxidants lycopene, beta carotene and chlorogenic. Antioxidants help to remove free radicals and protect your cells from the dangerous oxidation that can lead to chronic health conditions.

While fresh tomatoes are very healthy, processed tomato products including ketchup, paste, and sauces contain the highest dietary source of lycopene. These canned products actually provide 80 percent of lycopene for people in the US.

Good for Gut Health

A diet that is rich in tomatoes is good for your gut, according to Everyday Health. That’s because consuming tomatoes could help diversify your gut microbiome which helps with digestion and could help treat inflammatory bowel disease. A healthy diverse microbiome is also linked to other health benefits including boosting your immunity. The fiber content of tomatoes also contributes to gut health.

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Heart Healthy

Eating tomatoes helps to lower  the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This is due to the antioxidants – especially lycopene that also gives tomatoes its bright colorings –, according to a meta-analysis of 14 studies published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. The analysis found a significant reduction in CVD in study participants who consumed lycopene.

Eating tomatoes and olive oil, like in the Mediterranean diet, also helps to lower LDL( bad) cholesterol, according to Everyday Health, and this also lowers the risk of heart disease.

Could Lower Cancer Risk

Adding tomatoes to your diet could reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate, lung, and stomach cancers, reported Healthline. In addition, a study, conducted by the American Society of Preventive Oncology, suggested that the consumption of  a large number of carotenoids helped to protect women against breast cancer.

Good for Eye Health

Tomatoes contain the plant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, according to WebMD, that could help to protect your eyes from blue light devices like computers and smartphones. This could help prevent headaches and tiredness that is associated with eye strain. The same antioxidants also help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Helps with Sun Protection

The lycopene in tomatoes also works against the oxidative stress damage from ultraviolet UV rays from the sun. While eating tomatoes can never replace sunscreen, cautions Everyday Health, if you eat enough of the fruit, it could act as an internal sunscreen that could help prevent sunburns and skin cancer.

Great Source of Hydration

Tomatoes are made up of 94 percent water,  this makes them very hydrating. Add that to the high potassium level, which acts as an electrolyte to provide proper hydration in your cells and you are on your way to staying hydrated. The recommended dietary allowance of potassium is 3,400 mg for men and 2,600 mg for women. Just one medium tomato contains 292 mg of potassium and one cup of tomato sauce contains 728 mg.

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