Tomato is one vegetable which is consumed extensively in Indian dishes, especially in North Indian dishes. Its one of my favourite vegetables cos it has this unique tanginess to it which makes any dish rich and flavourful. Tomatoes bring in that rich Umami flavour to the dish since it has high levels of glutamate. The riper the tomato, the more flavorful it is. Many regard this fruit/vegetable as an add-on to the main dish, but tomato in itself has several nutritional benefits.

Health Benefits

Tomatoes are one of the low-calorie vegetables; hold just 18 calories per 100 g. They are also very low in fat contents and have zero cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, they are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

Tomatoes are one of the richest source of Lycopene

1. Increase your heart health

Tomato is high in Lycopene, an antioxidant which promotes heart health by boosting the body’s natural antioxidant defenses. Antioxidants protect your body from damage caused by compounds known as free radicals.

When free radical levels outnumber antioxidant levels, they can create oxidative stress in your body. Research shows that lycopene’s antioxidant properties can help keep free radical levels in balance, protecting your body against some of these conditions

2. Protects skin against UV rays

Lycopene is known to protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. It may help increase your skin’s defense against sunburns and damage caused by UV rays

However, the protection it offers against sun damage is limited and is not a replacement for sunscreen.

1 cup of raw tomatoes caters to 33% of your daily Vitamin C recommended intake

3. Improve your immunity

Tomatoes have a high amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system . Though it may not prevent you from catching a cold, it can reduce the duration of your cold by as much as 1 day.

Your body cannot make Vitamin C, hence it should come from the food you eat everyday.

4. Regulate your blood pressure

Fresh tomato is also very rich in potassium. 100 g 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. Low potassium intake has repeatedly been linked with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

A diet rich in potassium helps regulate the sodium levels in the body and hence maintain blood pressure levels.

5. Boosts Collagen Production and Improve Skin

Collagen is the material that gives your skin firmness and helps it to have a toned look. Vitamin C in the tomatoes help in boosting the collagen levels and hence reduce wrinkles and fight signs of aging. Adding more Vitamin C in your diet will plump the skin surface and helps it to retain moisture.

Did you know: This vegetable of all seasons is native to the Central America and was cultivated by the Aztecs centuries before the Spanish explorers introduced it to rest of the world

How best to consume

Eat Fresh Produce

The amount of lycopene in processed tomato products is often much higher than in fresh tomatoes. Even though processed tomato products are higher in lycopene, it is still recommended to consume fresh, whole tomatoes whenever possible.

Fats help with lycopene absorption

Other foods in the diet may have a strong effect on the absorption of lycopene from the digestive system. Consuming it with fat can increase absorption up to 4-fold. However, there is some individual variability here, and not everyone absorbs lycopene at the same rate

Avoid aluminium cookware

When cooking tomatoes, we recommend avoidance of aluminum cookware since the high acid content of the tomatoes may interact with the metal in the cookware. As a result, there may be migration of aluminum into the food, which may not only impart an unpleasant taste, but more importantly, may unnecessarily increase certain health risks.

Dont discard the skin

Whenever possible, try to use recipes that make use of the whole tomato. We’ve seen research showing higher lycopene content in whole tomato products. For example, when the skins of tomatoes are included in the making of the tomato paste, the lycopene and beta-carotene content of the paste is significant higher according to research studies.

Try our Tomato rich recipes to include more tomatoes in your diet.

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