Are Tomatoes Good for You? Nutrition and Health Benefits
Tomatos haves many beneficial properties, they are excellent allies of your diet and can be used in many ways in the kitchen. Discover why tomato is so good for you.
Tomatos haves many beneficial properties as they are rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They are excellent allies of your diet, because they are poor in calories. Let's discover together all characteristics and benefits of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are the most cultivated vegetable in the world, after potato. The plant originates from South America, but today it is cultivated all over the world. It belongs to the Solanaceae family, the same as eggplant, peppers and potatoes. It requires a lot of water and exists in various sizes and colors depending on the variety. Among the most popular varieties are the San Marzano, the Piccadilly and the Pacchino tomatoes.
The tomato season is certainly the summer, although today it is possible to find them all year round. Naturally, it is recommended toconsume seasonal fruits and vegetables because richer in taste and in nutritional values. But another way to consume toamtoes out of season is with organic tomatoes sauces in glass jar.
Now let's see the nutritional values of tomatoes.
Tomatoes: Nutrition Facts
Tomatoes are mostly made up of water and have a very low fat content, resulting in a low calorie intake. They actually have only 18 calories per 100 grams, so tomatoes are good for you when dieting.
Now let's see the benefits and characteristics of the most important tomato nutrients.
- Potassium: Tomatoes are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps reduce blood pressure and regulate muscle contraction. In addition, it intervenes in the acid-base balance, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the regulation of the rhythm of the heart.
- Phosphorus: This mineral acts in many processes in the body such as cell repair and pH adjustment. It is also part of the mineral fraction of bones and teeth but also of enzymes and proteins.
- Vitamin C: it is also called ascorbic acid, and has a strong antioxidant action, thus fighting free radicals and stimulating the immune system's functioning well, protecting it from viruses and bacteria. It is also essential for the production of collagen and intestinal absorption of iron.
- Vitamin K: This vitamin intervenes in the blood clotting process, it has an anti-tumor function, bone protection and inflammatory response regulation.
- Folate: Folates are not really vitamins but are the precursors of the latter because they are converted to vitamin B9 or folic acid at the intestinal level. The proper contribution of this vitamin is of utmost importance especially for pregnant women, as a deficiency of folave can cause serious fetal malformations. It is essential for the growth and proper functioning of the nervous system and is important for the synthesis of hemoglobin and amino acids.
- Lycopene: Tomato is a great source of lycopene. It is an antioxidant carotenoid that is responsible for the red color of tomatoes and other vegetables such as watermelon and red fruits. It has an anti-inflammatory action and protects the eyes from the degeneration due to age. Its strong antioxidant power makes it precious in the fight against cellular aging and tumors. Lycopene is mainly contained in the skin.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that can be found in the retina, and that, thanks to their antioxidant action, protect the eyes from light radiation damages.
Tomatoes: Health Benefits
To sum up tomatoes:
protect against tumors, thanks to the richness of antioxidant substances, especially lycopene. Regular tomato consumption can dramatically decrease the risk of cancer, such as breast, ovary, prostate and pancreas cancers;
reduce blood pressure thanks to the potassium which acts as a vasodilator. So, they are a great help for people with high blood pressure;
fight cellular aging thanks to the action of free radicals, which are effectively counteracted by the antioxidants contained in tomatoes such as Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene;
protect eyes thanks to the lutein and zeaxanthin.
Potential Disadvantages of Eating Tomatoes
Tomatoes also have some contraindications. In particular, they should be avoided in case of specific allergy and intolerance to the Solanacee family or nickel allergy, element highly present in these vegetables. Furthremore, they should be avoided (or at least consumed in small quantities) by people who suffer from stomach acid, gastritis or reflux.