The Humble Tomato
This humble vegetable of Central America has seized the attention of millions of health seekers for its incredible phyto-chemical properties. Interestingly, it has more health-benefiting compounds than that of some popular fruits like apple!
Health benefits of Tomato
- Tomatoes are a low-calorie vegetable; with just 18 calories per 100g. They are low in fat content and have zero cholesterol. Nonetheless, they are an excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
- The antioxidants present in tomatoes are scientifically found to be protective against cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic tumors.
- Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, is a unique phytochemical compound found in tomatoes. Red variety fruits tend to possess more of this antioxidant. Together with carotenoids, lycopene may help protect cells and other structures in the human body from harmful oxygen-free radicals. Studies shows that lycopene protects the skin from ultra-violet (UV) rays and thus offers some defence against skin cancer.
- Zea-xanthin is another flavonoid compound present abundantly in tomatoes. Zea-xanthin helps protect eyes from "age-related macular related macular disease" (ARMD) in the elderly persons by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.
- Tomatoes contain very good levels of vitamin A and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as a and ß-carotenes, xanthins and lutein. Altogether, these pigment compounds are found to have antioxidant properties and play a part in night-vision, maintenance of healthy mucusa, skin, and bones. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids is known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Additionally, they are also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (provide 21% of recommended daily levels per 100 g); consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
- Fresh tomato is very rich in potassium. 100g contain 237 mg of potassium and just 5 mg of sodium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure caused by sodium.