The tomato is a fruit native to the Americas and was first cultivated in Europe for human consumption in the 18th century. There are over 20,000 varieties of tomatoes in the world, but whatever you eat will bring the same benefits to your health and enrich your recipes. Doctor and nutritionist Elena Soria from Clínica Menorca tells us about some of the qualities of this versatile, delicious and healthy fruit that you may not have known about.
Lycopene prevents strokes
There are studies that show that consumption of lycopene (the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color and is carotene) lowers low-density or LDL cholesterol (commonly known as bad cholesterol). LDL cholesterol sticks to blood vessels, forming a lesion called atheromatous plaques. The existence of these plaques determines the occurrence of certain cardiovascular diseases. Lycopene, since it is involved in the prevention of plaque formation, prevents cardiovascular disease.
Helps clear skin when taken as juice
Tomato juice contains a high percentage of skin-friendly nutrients. These include vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene, and protein. Lycopene is essentially a carotenoid that counteracts the action of free radicals in the body. It is a strong antioxidant that gives tomatoes their characteristic color. What makes tomatoes such a treat for skin and health is their high antioxidant content. Transforms dull skin for a youthful appearance. Ideal for cleaning skin pores. Regulates pH and heals irritations. Serves as a natural astringent and tightens pores that are prone to dirt accumulation if too open. It is also an excellent remedy for acne and blackheads.
Relieves menstrual discomfort
Anything that is a pre-menstrual and ovulation detox diet will do the trick to alleviate the typical discomfort, and this is where tomatoes do their good cleansing job. Due to its high potassium content and low sodium content, it is considered a diuretic and useful in removing toxins. Also due to the content of vitamin K, which regulates excess menstrual flow.
Regulates bowel function
The high content of fiber and other substances make tomatoes a mild laxative that helps regulate bowel function and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disease.
Due to the high content of vitamin C, as well as the analgesic properties of prostaglandins responsible for pain, tomatoes can be considered a good ally for headaches. Including it in your daily diet, such as breakfast toast, is a very healthy option.
Helps vision (vitamin A)
No food containing only macronutrients and micronutrients can have 100% curative or preventive benefits. At the same time, vitamin A is necessary for proper vision, prevention of macular degeneration and night blindness. The tomato contains vitamin A, but by itself it does not prevent these diseases and does not provide good vision, although it contributes to this, so it should not be excluded from your diet.
Neutralizes free radicals
Antioxidants (in tomatoes, among other antioxidants, there are lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin E, etc.) act by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage our cells. Free radicals arise in our body as a result of metabolic processes, stress, environmental pollution, malnutrition, in the process of protecting our body from pathogens (viruses, pathogenic bacteria, etc.). If free radicals are not neutralized, they will harm our body in the form of inflammation, multiple types of cancer… Since tomatoes contain antioxidants, they help to avoid such conditions. The existence of nutritional components associated with the prevention of cancer is known, they are called immunostimulants. Among them are vitamin C, vitamin A, B-carotenoids and selenium, which are found in tomatoes. In general, phytonutrients, which are the nutrients of the plant kingdom, protect health and prevent cancer.
Why have they lost their charm? (as per taste)
This is due to the cultivability of land, the chemical processes to which they are subjected during cultivation and harvesting. Tomatoes are a summer fruit, but we have them at any time of the year. The croplands are depleted and the harvest is carried out when they are not yet ripe enough. The maturation process is carried out in chambers or at the consumers themselves. All this leads to the fact that we get lower quality products.
Is it better cooked or raw? (They say that lycopene is better absorbed if it is subjected to a thermal process).
It is important to eat well-washed and chopped peel. The thermal process contributes to the rupture of the cell walls of the tomato and, consequently, the release of lycopene and other molecules. Associated with extra virgin olive oil, the tomato provides us with great nutritional value when eaten.