The tomato is one of the “fruits” that is used in our kitchen, in all its forms and varieties. It can be eaten raw or incorporated in many different dishes. Its nutritional properties are abundant and all of them are beneficial for our health. From regulating cholesterol and blood pressure levels to strengthening the immune system, its benefits are too many to enumerate. Check out below the most beneficial nutrients we can get from eating tomatoes.
A single tomato can provide our body with 40% of the daily recommended minimum of vitamin C. This vitamin is essential in the body as it acts as a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses, lower blood pressure in those with and without high blood pressure, reduce heart disease risk, reduce uric acid in the blood, boosts immunity, and many more (1,2).
Folate is also present in tomatoes. This helps in balancing our homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that results from protein breakdown. It has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. With the help of folate, we can manage our homocysteine levels and reduce one of the risk factors for heart disease (5).
One medium tomato contains almost 300 mg of potassium. One cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and a half-cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams (6). Potassium is a mineral that is essential in decreasing the risk of stroke, lowering blood pressure, protecting against loss of muscle mass, preserving bone mineral density, and reducing the formation of kidney stones (7).
Lycopene is a carotenoid that is present in tomatoes. It is one of the most potent antioxidants among dietary carotenoids. Intake of lycopene has been shown to be associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease (8).
How Can We Enjoy All Of These Nutrients?
We can add fresh or dried tomatoes to our diet. We can also have it as sauce, salsa, or paste. Have them added to omelets and salads, and serve them sliced, drizzled with balsamic, and garnished with fresh basil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Add salsa to scrambled eggs or taco salad. Use tomato sauce as a topping for sautéed green beans or potatoes.