Tomatoes often are thought to be a vegetable, though in reality they are a fruit. Whether you call them a fruit or a vegetable, tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse and can provide immense health benefits when included in your diet plan.
They contain a good amount of vitamins A, C, and K, folate and potassium along with thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary to maintain good health.
The best part is that tomatoes are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. They go well in salads and sandwiches, as gravy for vegetables, and in sauces and soups.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of tomatoes.
1. Keeps Skin Healthy
Regular consumption of tomatoes will help make your skin look great. Tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect skin against sun damage. It also makes skin less sensitive to ultraviolet light damage, one of the main causes of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
Also, tomatoes can be used to minimize large pores, heal acne and rashes or treat minor burns. Rubbing the pulp of tomatoes on dull skin is a simple way to revive a healthy glow.
2. Supports Bone Health
Tomatoes are good for your bones due to the presence of vitamin K and calcium in them. Both these elements are excellent for strengthening and repairing bones.
The antioxidant lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which is a great way to fight osteoporosis, a disease that can lead to bone fractures, disability, and deformity.
3. Improves Vision
The high amount of vitamins A and C in tomatoes can greatly help improve your vision and prevent night blindness. Recent research shows that the vitamin A in tomatoes helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition.
Tomatoes also can reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Plus, tomatoes contain the phytochemical antioxidants zeaxanthin, lutein and lycopene. All these compounds protect the eyes from light damage.
4. Reduces Hair Problems
Tomatoes can even make your hair look better. The vitamins (especially vitamin A) and iron present in tomatoes help strengthen hair as well as add shine to dull, damaged and lifeless locks.
Plus, the acidity in tomatoes helps balance the pH levels in your hair, which in turn helps remove hair colors and dyes and maintain your hair’s natural color.
If you have an itchy scalp and dandruff, simply apply fresh tomato juice on your scalp and hair after shampooing, leave it in for four to five minutes and then rinse with cold water.
Note: Do not use tomatoes on your hair on a regular basis as their acidity can leave your hair dry.
5. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Tomatoes are a great food for diabetics to lower their blood sugar levels. They contain very little carbohydrates, which helps control the urine glucose level.
They are also a very good source of chromium that helps regulate blood sugar, as well as fiber, which has been shown to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high.
Several studies have shown that the antioxidants in tomatoes also provide protection to the kidneys and bloodstream, two areas frequently affected by diabetes. Finally, a low-calorie food like tomatoes can be helpful for diabetics trying to lose weight.
6. Wards Off Cancer
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that eating more tomatoes lowers the risk of prostate cancer.
It may also decrease the risk of other cancers like lung, stomach, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, colon, rectal, and ovarian cancer. This is primarily due to the antioxidant lycopene that is present in tomatoes.
Moreover, the anti-cancer benefits of tomatoes are maximized when they are cooked with olive oil.