When we compliment someone on their robust health we often say “your cheeks are as red as a tomato”. Good health and ripe, juicy tomatoes are always interlinked in our minds. Did you ever imagine that the ubiquitous tomato is a powerhouse of nutritional benefits? Let’s look at how the humble tomato, also known as ‘Tamatar‘ in Hindi, ‘Rama Mulaga‘ in Telugu, ‘Thakkali‘ in Tamil, ‘Thakkali‘ in Malayalam, ‘Tameta‘ in Gujarati, ‘Toamaatar‘ in Bengali, and ‘Tamoto‘ in Marathi, can be our friend in the quest for good health and nutrition.
What Is A Tomato?
- Tomato is a fruit that is also considered a vegetable and is extensively used in making a wide variety of dishes.
- It is used in vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes all over the world and also for snacks.
- It is famous for being used in pizzas, sandwiches and cocktails too.
- This widely used fruit has many nutritional benefits in addition to its preference in many cultures.
- It belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables and its cultivation has been dominant in ancient Spain since the Aztecs.
- It was introduced to the world by Spanish explorers, and it has since gained massive popularity across all regions of the world.
Health Benefits Of Tomatoes
Given below are few amazing health benefits of tomatoes:
1. Work As A Filling Food
As tomatoes have high water content, they work perfectly as filling food. Tomatoes, with their water content, moisturize our skin and keep it healthy and shiny.
2. Vitamins And Nutritional Content
It provides almost 20 percent of the daily vitamin intake required, per serving, which is necessary for maintaining good health. It is also known to have all the positive nutrients needed for proper functioning of the human body according to USDA.
3. Control Heart Rate
Being rich in potassium content, it gives about 237 mg of potassium which is useful for controlling heart rate and is helpful in preventing heart diseases and strokes.
4. Prevent Eye Diseases
The vitamins such as vitamin A, flavonoid B complex, thiamine, folates, niacin, etc. are also present in tomatoes that help cure skin and eye diseases.
5. High Blood Pressure
Tomatoes, with a powerful punch of minerals and nutrients, also help in safeguarding our body from high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
6. Good For Bones And Teeth
Being rich in Calcium, it tends to improve bone strength and bone formation in the body. It is also beneficial in maintaining the teeth in a healthy state.
7. Protect From Free Radicals
Some of its flavonoid antioxidants, such as lycopene and zeaxanthin are best known to health specialists for their anti-free radical behavior.
The antioxidant behavior of this vegetable also helps to prevent many unwanted reactions in the lungs, colon, and breasts that can tend to be cancerous. The antioxidants help in the treatment of cancer by preventing carcinogenic reactions in the body which stop by blocking free radicals from proceeding further.
9. Cell Repair And Muscle Building
It is a naturally rich source of protein, which is good for cell repair and muscle building.
10. Less Fat Content
Other basic nutrients include 4 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, 18 calories and 0 grams of saturated fat. This vegetable can be eaten in good amounts due to the lower rate of calories in tomato.
11. Lower Cholesterol
Tomatoes seeds have no cholesterol. Thus, tomato seeds don’t add cholesterol to your diet. Tomato seeds are high in fiber; fiber is known to lower cholesterol. Tomato seeds also are rich sources of niacin (vitamin B3). Niacin has been used to lower cholesterol levels for many years.
12. Lower Blood Pressure
An Israelite researcher found that tomato seeds bring about a significant drop in blood pressure. The research was spread over eight weeks, where subjects ingested seeded tomatoes daily. It was noted that their blood pressure levels dropped. Tomato seeds and the berry itself contain an antioxidant called lycopene complex. This encourages a drop in both systolic (upper limit) and diastolic (lower limit) by approximately 5 points.
13. Prevent Blood Clots
Along with Vitamin C, lycopene and niacin, tomato flesh contains many health benefits. However, the seeds are surrounded by a mucus layer. The layer has been patented as Fruitlow by researchers. Fruitlow and lycopene both help unblock and prevent blood clots. Blood clotting is one of the major reasons for heart diseases today. Tomato seeds help prevent blood clots.
Free radical production can activate the inflammatory compounds. Inflammatory compounds promote chronic ailments like atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. Tomato seeds’ lycopene and beta-carotene eradicate free radicals. This, in turn, helps arrest inflammation. Tomato seeds are thus an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
15. Prevent Acidosis
The human body is designed to maintain a pH of 7.365. However, our diet, irregular food patterns, and no exercise ensure that our body has a higher concentration of acid. This can cause acidosis, congestion, and reflux. Usually, the pH balance can be maintained by including calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. Tomato flesh and seeds contain high amounts of these essential bases, and tomato seeds help us maintain the required pH balance and thus prevent acidosis.
16. Boost Immunity
Tomato seeds and flesh have been credited as immunity boosting agents. They help avoid common cold and influenza, especially for males. Carotenoid deficiency has been identified as the main culprit in these commonly occurring diseases. Low amounts of lycopene and beta-carotene have also been held responsible. Tomato seeds are excellent sources of the antioxidant lycopene and beta-carotene. Thus, they are effective immunity boosting agents.
17. Improve Eyesight
Tomatoes and their seeds contain high amounts of Vitamin A. Vitamin A has often been associated with excellent eyesight, and a deficiency of this vitamin causes night blindness. Tomato seeds thus help improve eyesight.
Skin Benefits Of Tomatoes
Besides cooking, tomato can be used in a number of ways to enhance your beauty. It is considered to be the panacea of skin. It is believed that consuming tomato and tomato products will give you a healthy and beautiful skin. Its beauty benefits are gaining popularity with every passing day. Benefits of tomatoes for skin include the following:
18. Treat Open Pores
- Add four drops of tomato juice to 1 tablespoon of water and apply it on your face with the help of a cotton ball.
- Gently massage your skin with this mixture and leave it on for 15 minutes. Regular application of this will shrink the pore size.
19. Glowing Skin
Tomatoes are not just an important part of a healthy diet but also work wonders when applied topically on the skin. Applying tomato juice or rubbing tomato halves on the skin evens out the skin and revives the glow giving you a healthy looking skin. It contains a high amount of Vitamin C, which is known to brighten skin.
20. Prevent Signs Of Aging
Tomatoes and its products enable the skin to absorb oxygen and prevent the signs of aging. It provides an amazing natural skin treatment that can make the skin look younger and healthy with less effort.
21. Act As A Natural Sunscreen
According to various studies, tomato contains an antioxidant called lycopene which acts as a natural sunscreen. This provides the skin protection from harsh UV rays.
22. Act As A Stress Reliever
Tomato extract is often used in luxurious body massage oils to combat visible sign of stress on the skin. Tomato extract is also used in eye creams, which, along with other essential ingredients, leaves the eyes looking fresh and revitalized.
23. Perfect Astringent
The astringent properties of tomato make it an excellent choice for combination skin.
- A pack made from mashed avocados and tomatoes soothes the skin and cleanses it thoroughly to give you a glowing complexion.
- Apply this face pack and wash it off with lukewarm water after 20 to 30 minutes. Tomato contains natural oil reducing and astringent properties while avocado provides an antiseptic and moisturizing effect to the skin.
24. Fight Cellular Damage
Consumption of at least 16 milligrams of lycopene every day reduces the amount of free radicals in the body to give you a youthful skin. It fights cellular damage and reddening of the skin and also retains the moisture, thus preventing fine lines and wrinkles. This property of tomato makes it an amazing anti-aging product.
25. Natural Bleaching Agent
Tomato is considered as a natural bleaching agent and is very helpful in lightening the skin tone.
- Prepare a face pack by mixing 1 teaspoon of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of yogurt and 2 teaspoons of tomato pulp.
- Apply it on the face and neck and leave it for 20 minutes. Oatmeal will gently exfoliate the skin, while yogurt and tomato will help to clear the blemishes. This improves the complexion.
26. Prevent Sunburn
According to Prevention Magazine, people who consumed five tablespoons of tomato paste daily for three consecutive months were naturally protected against sunburn. Sun burnt skin can also be treated by applying tomato on the affected parts.
- Make a pack by mixing 2 teaspoons of tomato pulp with 1 teaspoon of yogurt. Apply this on the face, neck, hands, and feet.
- Tomato cools the skin while yogurt provides a protein boost to make the skin soft and supple.
27. Smooth Skin
Mix honey with tomato juice to make a thick paste. Apply it on the face and wash it off after 15 minutes to get a smooth and glowing skin.
28. Remove Dead Skin Cells
Tomatoes can greatly help you to remove dead skin cells.
- Grind tomatoes in a mixer with the seeds and add 1 teaspoon of sugar to it.
- Apply it on the face and massage gently in circular motion.
You can also cut 1 tomato into 2 halves and sprinkle some sugar on it. Gently scrub your skin with it to do away with dead skin cells and get a clean and fresh looking skin.
Hair Benefits Of Tomatoes
You must have noticed that many hair care products including shampoos and conditioners contain tomato extract as one of the ingredients. This is because tomato contains important nutrients like Vitamin A, B, C, and E, which are excellent stimulants for healthy hair. Some of the benefits of tomatoes for hair include these below.
- Tomatoes are considered to be an excellent cure for hair loss. It is believed that application of tomato pulp on the scalp can prevent hair loss.
- Tomatoes are amazing natural conditioners coming straight from your kitchen. It provides natural shine to the hair and makes it soft and manageable.
- Take a few drops of tomato oil in your hand and apply it on your hair. This will act as a leave-in conditioner and will keep the hair manageable and frizz free.
- Pure, homemade tomato puree can help in bringing radiance and elasticity to dry hair.
- Mix tomato puree with oil and apply it on the hair.
- Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash it off. This will make the hair super smooth, shiny and flexible as it contains high amounts of protein in it.
- Regular swimming often changes the color of the hair due to the high amount of chlorine present in the pool water. Tomato can be a great help to remove the stains from the hair.
- Apply pure tomato juice to the hair and leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse it off with water, followed by shampoo and conditioning.
- Tomato juice also acts as a soaking agent to remove odors. Apply freshly squeezed tomato juice on the scalp and massage your hair with it for a few minutes. Leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it off as usual.
- Moisture often escapes from the scalp during winters, making the hair strands dry and brittle, leading to breakage. So make sure to keep your hair replenished with the help of tomatoes. Tomatoes help to lock the much-needed moisture in the hair to prevent it from dry.
- Tomatoes are very useful for curing itchy scalp and dandruff. Itchy scalp and dandruff lead to other scalp problems, like eczema and scalp psoriasis. Tomato contains a high amount of Vitamin C, which fights dandruff and provides collagen for proper tissue development of the scalp.
- Take 2 to 3 ripe tomatoes and make a thick pulp out of it.
- Add 2 tablespoon of lemon juice to it and mix well to form a smooth paste. Apply the pack gently on the scalp. Do not scratch the scalp with nails.
- Apply it properly on the scalp and leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse your hair with water and let it dry.
- Tomato hair rinse can be used to impart shine and remove excess build-up from the scalp. Take 3 ripe tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds and squeeze the juice out of it. Spray it on your hair and scalp and wash it off after 1 hour.
Selection, Storage, And Uses
Tomatoes are available all year round in both fresh and preserved form. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes which are available in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Two common shapes of tomatoes are round or pear-shaped, and cherry sized. Select tomatoes that are rich in color like deep red, vibrant oranges, or tangerines.
- Tomatoes are also available in yellow and purple colors, but these are less acidic and thus don’t have much flavor.
- They should be well shaped, devoid of any dent, cracks, or bruises.
- The skin should be taut and not shriveled or wrinkled. Fresh and ripe tomato yield to slight pressure and emit a sweet fragrance.
[ Read: How to Make Tomato Soup at Home ]
Tomatoes are quite sensitive to cold as it can impede its ripening process and even nullify its flavor.
- Store them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and consume it as early as possible.
- Purchase tomatoes that ripen on the vine as the sugars, acidic, and aroma compounds remain intact in vine ripened tomatoes. Avoid buying tomatoes that are overripe and soft.
- If, by mistake, you have bought slightly unripe tomatoes, then wrap them in a paper bag with banana or apples and leave overnight. Ethylene gas emitted by these fruits will speed up the ripening process. Place them in the refrigerator after they are fully ripe, where they will stay fresh for 2 to 3 more days.
- Take them out from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using them as this will enhance their flavor and juiciness.
- While purchasing tomato ketchup, purchase only organic ketchup to avoid unwanted pesticides residue and other contaminants. Overripe tomatoes are easily perishable and should be ideally stored in the refrigerator.
- The high acidic content of the tomato is the prime reason that tomatoes are canned more than any other fruit or vegetable. Canned tomatoes come in many varieties like whole, chopped, crushed, and pureed and sauce like. Unopened canned tomatoes can be consumed within six months while opened tomatoes should be consumed within a week.
- You can also freeze the tomatoes if you have excess of it. Freezing will not alter the flavor or texture of the tomatoes. All you need to do is wash it thoroughly and leave it to dry. Place the tomatoes in a zip lock pouch and suck out the air with a straw. When required, remove from the bag and thaw to remove the skin.
There is no dearth of uses of this versatile ‘vegetable’. Tomatoes are used extensively in cooking and are a staple in our Indian cuisine. Tomatoes are mixed with other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the dish. Green tomatoes are used to prepare chutneys and pickles in our cuisine.
- Tomato juice is gaining immense popularity as a popular health drink. Opt for organic tomato juice as it contains three times more lycopene than the regular ones.
- Regular tomatoes, mainly cherry tomatoes are used in the preparation of salads and sandwiches.
- You can also stew tomatoes to prepare tomato soup, sauce, and other baked dishes. Homemade tomato sauce is way better than those available in the market.
Tomato Nutrition Facts (USDA)
|Tomatoes, sliced, raw
1.00 cup (180.00 grams)
|Vitamin K||7.9 µg|
|Vitamin A||833 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.54 mg|
According to USDA reports, this vegetable contains all the necessary nutrients for a human body.
- It provides almost 20 percent of the vitamin intake necessary per serving.
- Its potassium rich content gives about 237 mg of potassium which is useful for controlling heart rate and cell damage.
Avail these tomatoes health benefits by including this wonder vegetable in your dishes, sauces, pickles, purees, etc. Tomatoes are easily available in your local market, so grab one right away. Tomatoes are genuinely linked with health. Add them to your daily beauty and nutrition regime and you will reap the benefits.Stay fit, Stay healthy!
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This content was originally published here.