Tomatoes are a juicy, fresh, and delicious addition to any diet, but few people realize just how many health benefits they provide. Tomatoes are not only packed with flavor but are also rich in many vitamins and nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy body and fight off chronic disease. Below are some of the most significant health benefits provided by the humble tomato.
1. Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases
The potent nutrients and antioxidants found in tomatoes have been linked to a lower risk of many chronic diseases. Vitamin C and lycopene help protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. The fiber in tomatoes has also been shown to lower blood glucose levels and balance the body's insulin response in those suffering from diabetes.
2. Stronger Memory
In addition to antioxidants, tomatoes contain several other compounds that can protect your brain's health and functionality. Research suggests that choline improves short-term memory, aids in learning, and regulates sleep. The alpha-lipoic acid in tomatoes helps preserve brain tissue, and may even delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
Though sodium intake is the primary culprit in people suffering from high blood pressure, a potassium deficiency may also be a contributing cause. Tomatoes are rich in potassium and other compounds that fight inflammation and reduce blood pressure.
4. Healthier Skin
Tomatoes contain a host of potent antioxidants which benefit your skin, including beta-carotene and lycopene. These compounds reduce sensitivity to the sun's ultraviolet rays and limit the amount of damage that sunlight causes to your skin. Antioxidants also destroy free radicals in the body, which are associated with wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
5. Stronger Bones
The lycopene found in tomatoes plays a special role in maintaining bone health, especially in postmenopausal women. Studies show that women who include tomatoes in their diet are less prone to losing bone mass and suffering from osteoporosis. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes also help repair damage to bones.
6. Better Vision
As with carrots, tomatoes contain vitamin A and beta-carotene, compounds that protect the surface of your cornea to prevent damage and loss of vision. Eating tomatoes also reduce the risk of macular degeneration and damage to blood vessels in the retina amongst diabetics. Not only that, but vitamin A is an effective treatment for recurrent dryness or redness of the eyes, as well.
Tomatoes offer a whole host of long-term health benefits, making them an ideal addition to virtually any meal. In addition, research shows that many of the tomato's benefits don't require you to eat them fresh - crushed, pureed, or peeled tomatoes are just as healthy!