Tomatoes, the simple fruit with a thousand beneficial properties.
Rich in antioxidants, it helps cardiovascular health, the waistline, eyesight and is counted among the foods that are potentially anti-cancer.
Tomatoes are one of the most typical foods of the Mediterranean diet.
Raw or cooked, used in a thousand recipes, they are almost never missing from our tables.
Summer is the best time to enjoy them raw, while during the colder months we can take advantage of the benefits of tomato preserves.
Cooking brings out some of the beneficial properties of tomatoes.
Tomatoes, thanks to their qualities, bring numerous benefits to the body. To paraphrase an old proverb, we could say that ‘a tomato a day keeps the doctor away’.
Botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit in the truest sense of the word and are considered one of the symbolic vegetables of the summer season, when they reach full maturity. The summer months are a great time to get the family together and try your hand at making homemade tomato sauce so that you’ll have some in your pantry for the rest of the year. Find out about the benefits and calories of tomatoes.
Tomatoes can also be dried and preserved in oil. That’s why it would be a good idea to consume more of them (unless you have an allergy to them and also watch out for a nickel allergy in some cases).
The benefits of tomatoes:
Tomatoes are a fruit rich in water, vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. Even those on a calorie-restricted diet can usually eat tomatoes without any problems, as 100 grams of fresh tomatoes provide only 18 calories. We take advantage of fresh tomatoes when they are in season to enrich our diet with these precious vegetables.
Benefits for the heart
Consumption of tomatoes is linked to a 29% reduced risk of heart disease. Tomatoes, provided they are organically grown, are considered to be a natural medicine for the prevention of heart disease and more.
Vitamin C content
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, an element considered essential for the proper functioning of our immune system, which the body should therefore take on a daily basis in order to protect itself from disease. The WHO states that the daily intake of vitamin C should be 45 mg. 100 g of ripe tomatoes contain 25 mg, while 100 g of tomato paste contains 43 mg. (Source)
Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is considered a highly protective food for our bodies against degenerative diseases linked to the ageing process. Lycopene protects us from genetic damage and the resulting diseases. The lycopene content of tomatoes is 11 mg/100 g in the flesh and 54 mg/100 g in the skin. (Source )
The key nutrients contained in tomatoes, including the aforementioned lycopene, give them proven cancer-preventive properties, particularly for colon and prostate cancers.
The consumption of tomatoes can be considered suitable for all those who need to undertake a slimming diet. They are said to help the body lose weight. This is because tomatoes are said to stimulate the production of the amino acid carnitine, which is used by the body to convert lipids into energy.
Prevention of osteoporosis
According to some experts, a lack of lycopene during the menopause can lead to osteoporosis. It is therefore advisable to consume foods rich in lycopene at any age as a preventive measure (unless individual contraindications apply). In addition to tomatoes, lycopene is contained in foods such as watermelons, persimmons and grapefruits.
Tomatoes are considered to be a food that helps the body keep cholesterol levels in the blood under control. Consumption of tomatoes is therefore considered suitable for those who have this need. Other foods that can help lower cholesterol are oats and spinach.
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Tomatoes are good for the eyes and eyesight, which they are able to protect due to their beta-carotene and lutein content, which can repair them from degenerative diseases. Broccoli, aubergines, pumpkins and courgettes are other foods that are particularly recommended for protecting the eyes and vision.
Tomatoes are able to promote good bowel function due to their content of plant fibres, such as hemicellulose and cellulose, which are particularly present in its skin. This is why the consumption of tomatoes is often recommended for those who suffer from constipation and a sluggish bowel.
Because of its high water content, tomatoes can stimulate diuresis, especially when eaten fresh and raw, without the addition of salt. Other typical summer foods that can help purify the body by eliminating excess fluids are watermelons, melons and cucumbers.
Contraindications of tomatoes
Like all foods, however, tomatoes have some drawbacks.
They are rich in solanine, a substance which, if consumed in large quantities, is harmful to the body. It should be noted, however, that the solanine content is inversely proportional to the degree of ripeness. Naturally ripened tomatoes in season contain less solanine than tomatoes out of season.
Tomatoes are also rich in histamine, a substance that can cause allergic or pseudo-allergic reactions, even severe ones, in predisposed individuals.
Tomatoes can cause heartburn and are contraindicated in cases of gastric irritation, gastroesophageal reflux and other disorders of the gastrointestinal system where the intake of acidic foods is not recommended.
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