Tomatoes: Health Benefits, Chemistry and Nutrition Facts
Tomatoes are superfood in terms of health, beauty and youth.
Tomato is a tasty vegetable, which is an essential part of menu for majority of people. European scientists call it a fruit while common people consider it a vegetable. Yet, it is a very healthy food to have. Thanks to its well-balanced chemistry, it helps to fight excessive weight, stay in good shape and positive mood as well as prevent likelihood of development of certain diseases.
Chemistry and Nutritional Value
Tomatoes are low in calories: 100 g of red tomatoes contain 18kcal only. They do not contain fats, but they do contain very important vitamins, micro- and macro elements such as:
- Vitamins C, К and B;
- Folic acid;
- Cancer protectors;
- Dietary fibers.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomato is a natural medicine when it comes to stomach ulcer and gastritis with low acidity, atherosclerosis, influenza, depression and acne. Tomatoes can be eaten whole or added into salads. Tomato juice is also a very tasty treat to have.
Tomatoes become even healthier when steamed, roasted or baked. Thermal processing results in increase of the lycopene – red pigment, which gives a tomato red color. This is a very powerful antioxidant, which protects many internal organs and even prevents genetic mutations.
Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases
Doctors recommend to consume tomatoes in presence of atherosclerosis. It has been scientifically proven that these vegetables further lowering of the total cholesterol levels as well as «bad» cholesterol and triglycerides in blood. Tomato paste and concentrate from which the juice is being made can prevent unfavorable aggregation of the thrombocytes. It ensures prevention of the heart attacks.
Tomato seeds are good to consume in presence of heart and blood vessel diseases. They contain substances, which thin up blood and prevent development of thrombosis. They also lower risk of getting a cardiac infarction.
Tomatoes Prevent Osteoporosis
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and lycopene. This red pigment directly affects bone health and this is a scientifically proven fact.
Women lack lycopene during menopause and it evokes negative changes in the bony tissue. The latter increases the likelihood of osteoporosis development. To prevent this disease, women should consume tomatoes and other products which contain lycopene.
Tomatoes Protect from Cancer
Scientists are sure that tomatoes protect from certain types of cancer. This is due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cancer usually results from chronic oxidative stress and inflammation. Tomatoes prevent a development of such processes.
Tomatoes also favorably affect men’s health. It is proven that regular consumption of tomatoes helps to lower risk of development of the prostate cancer. This is due to presence of alpha-tomatine which is found in tomatoes. This substance is a natural cancer protector which prevents formation of the cancerous cells and kills the formed ones.
Tomatoes also lower risk of pancreas, lungs and breast cancers. This happens due to presence of lycopene in tomatoes.
Antioxidant Properties of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in the following antioxidants:
- Flavonoids such as naringenin, meletin, rutin, kaempferol;
- Glycosides such as esculoside;
- Carotenoids such as lycopene, zeaxanthin, ß-carotene and lutein;
- Hydroxycinnamic acids such as caffeic, ferulic and cumaric acids;
- Fatty acids.
Antioxidants lower oxidation of the fats in the cellular membranes preventing their destruction. It provides protection and helps to ensure proper functioning of the bones, liver, kidneys and blood.
Tomatoes Fight Depression
Many people face seasonal depression. It is possible to win it over by including tomatoes to menu. Tomatoes contain serotonin, which is called a happiness hormone. This substance is not released during depression, and tomatoes help to fill its lack. This is why tomatoes should be consumed by pregnant women in small amounts.
Tomatoes Protect from Viruses
Ascorbic acid is wise to have when the common cold is tries to strike in. It also should be consumed during influenza season. Don’t wait for sickness to come. Try to have tomatoes on a regular basis to maintain proper level of vitamin C. It can fight viruses and boost the immune system.
Tomatoes Improve Digestion
Tomatoes are very good for people with subacid gastritis or stomach ulcer. The wise thing to do is to have a fresh tomato juice without salt.
Tomatoes contain soft fiber and large amounts of a water. These substances cleanse rectum from food and prevent constipation. Fiber also positively affects pancreas functioning. Tomatoes are better to have with skin on as it improves gastric motility.
Tomatoes Helps to Stay Young and Look Good
Acne, skin infections and dry state are the widespread problems people of different age have to face. The reason quite often lies in lack of vitamin В2, which stimulates cellular regeneration. Tomatoes should be consumed to eliminate such a lack. They are also very rich in vitamins Е and А, therefore they positively affect skin which becomes elastic and smooth to touch.
Wrinkles come because of skin gets damaged by free radicals. Ageing is irreversible. However, tomatoes contain antioxidants, which can resist free radicals and postpone age-related changes.
Tomatoes stimulate removal of toxic substances from epidermis, relieve inflammations and destroy harmful bacterial flora. Tomatoes can be applied to skin. To relive inflammation, you should breath steam coming from the bowl with chamomile infusion and apply some tomato flesh to your skin. If you apply tomato to wound, then it will be disinfected and heal in no time.
Tomatoes Prevent Vision Problems
The older person becomes, the stronger is the risk of development of age-related cataract. Tomatoes protect eyes from this and some other eye diseases as they are rich in vitamin В2. Eating tomatoes, person gets great amounts of ß-carotene. It also improves visual acuity.
Tomatoes Help to Lose Weight
Tomatoes are low in calories and this is not the only health benefit they have. Tomatoes contain chrome — a macro element, which blocks hunger. They also contain dietary fibers which help person to feel full for a long period of time. Tomatoes prevent overeating and this is why nutritionists often recommend obese people or slimmer to have some.
Tomatoes contain lycopene which boosts metabolism and breaks fatty deposits. As a result, person is able to lose weight. There are few diets which are based on use of tomatoes:
- Fasting day. This is done once per week. One should have 1,5 to 2 kg of tomatoes one day before and drink 1,5l of pure water. Such measures will help to lose up to 1,5kg, remove toxic substances from body and feel light.
- Diet based on tomatoes and cucumbers. Such a diet should not last over one week. This is a very efficient way to get rid of extra kilos, remove excessive fluid from the body and cleanse it in general. One should consume 2 kg of vegetables and 1,5l of pure water. In case of feeling hungry, it is allowed to consume one egg, 2 small pieces of dark bread and fat-free fermented baked milk or white yoghurt.
- Diet based on buckwheat and tomatoes. Buckwheat enriches body with carbs, which are not possible to obtain from tomatoes, and gives an energy. This is why such a diet should be adhered for up to 14 days. Daily menu should include 1 kg of fresh tomatoes and 2 to 3 portions of unsalted buckwheat. One can also have couple of glasses of sour milk, which is low in fat.
Side Effects of Eating Tomatoes
Despite of health benefits and great chemistry, sometimes tomatoes should be consumed with care. They can be harmful for people with the following sicknesses:
- Gastritis with increased acidity (organic acids irritate stomach mucosa);
- Stomach ulcer and pancreatitis;
- Kidney stone disease (oxalic acid disturbs water-salt metabolism);
- Gallstone disease (tomatoes have a choleretic action);
- Gout and arthritis (purines increase concentration of the urea in blood).
Tomatoes should not be simultaneously consumed with starchy products such as white bread, pasta, rice, corn and buckwheat. Such combinations evoke formation of kidneys and sand in kidneys. Oxalate and phosphate calculus can increase in size granted regular consumption of tomatoes.
Some researchers say that tomatoes contain some substances, which increase nicotine addiction. However, this theory has not yet been proven.
Yellow tomatoes are less acidic than the red ones. Such vegetables can even be consumed in presence of heartburn and kidney diseases.
Benefits and Dangers of Pickled Tomatoes
Pickled tomatoes are good for human body. Scientists and nutritionists state that even salty tomatoes contain some amounts of lycopene, which fights cancer and breaks fatty deposits. Vitamins are destroyed after thermal processing, but tomatoes still have mineral salts, acids and fiber in them. Fermentation leads to creation of new substances, which do not let pathogenic microorganisms to multiply. As a result, gut flora normalizes.
Pickled tomatoes have even less calories than the fresh ones, that is, only 13kcal. They can be also consumed by people that are trying to lose some weight. Pickle helps to relieve hangover and restores water-electrolytic balance.
Tomatoes are also pickled along with other vegetables which favorably affect human body. Garlic lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and boosts immune system. Onion improves digestion and fights viruses and microbes.
Pickled tomatoes are complemented with vinegar. It can increase gastric acidity and even burn mucosa and evoke stomach ulcer. Pickled fluid, which contains vinegar, also destroys dental enamel.