A tomato is a nutrient-dense superfood that offers benefit to a range of bodily systems. Its nutritional content supports healthful skin, weight loss, and heart health.
Despite the popularity of tomatoes, it was only 200 years ago that they were thought to be poisonous in the United States (U.S.) This is likely to be because the plant belongs to the toxic nightshade family.
Tomatoes are now the fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions. This article will examine their powerful health benefits, nutritional content, ways to include more tomatoes in the diet, and the risks of tomato consumption.
Fast facts on tomatoes
- Including tomatoes in the diet can help protect against cancer, maintain healthy blood pressure, and reduce blood glucose in people with diabetes.
- Tomatoes contain key carotenoids such as lutein and lycopene. These can protect the eye against light-induced damage.
- Eat more tomatoes by adding them to wraps or sandwiches, sauces, or salsas. Alternatively, eat them cooked or stewed, as these preparation methods can boost the availability of key nutrients.
- Tomatoes are in the top ten fruits and vegetables for containing levels of pesticide residue. Wash tomatoes before eating.
Tomatoes are an intensely nutritious plant food.
The benefits of consuming different types of fruit and vegetable are impressive, and tomatoes are no different. As the proportion of plant foods in the diet increases, the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer decreases.
There are different types and sizes of tomato, and they can be prepared in different ways. These include cherry tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, raw tomatoes, soups, juices, and purees.
The health benefits can vary between types. For example, cherry tomatoes have higher beta-carotene content than regular tomatoes.
High fruit and vegetable intake is also linked to healthy skin and hair, increased energy, and lower weight. Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.
Summer Cherry Tomato Salad
- 2 pints fresh cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place chopped tomatoes and sliced red onions in a salad bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and gently toss everything together.
- Let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
- 1½ lbs roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 small green pepper finely diced
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ tsp red pepper flakes optional
- Place your tomatoes into a food processor and pulse 6-8 times, or until they reach a good salsa consistency. Depending on the size of your food processor you might have to do this in 2 batches. Transfer to a bowl once processed.
- Add the chopped up green pepper and onion into the bowl with the tomatoes.
- Add cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes into the bowl and mix until everything is combined.
- Serve with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite Mexican meal!