We’re all familiar with the round, often red fruit parading around as a veggie. Tomatoes are common in sauces, salads, soups, and all sorts of dishes. Some of us might even enjoy eating tomato slices all on their own. If you’re a fan of tomatoes, then I’ve got good news for you! They are a powerhouse of nutrition and have a surprising amount of health benefits. Let’s dive right into 5 surprising benefits of eating tomatoes.
May Improve Heart Health
Tomatoes contain a high amount of lycopene, which is a natural antioxidant. In fact, lycopene is what gives tomatoes their red color. According to a study done by Front Pharmacol, lycopene helps control blood pressure, prevent atherosclerosis, and lower bad cholesterol, among other things. Tomatoes are also high in vitamin B and potassium, which aid in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well. Incorporating tomatoes into your regular balanced diet can help prevent heart attacks and improve overall cardiovascular health.
May Lower Cancer Risk
The famous “pizza study” of 2002 showed that men who ate pizza more than twice a week reduced their risk for prostate cancer by 23%. Of course, the official dietary recommendation isn’t to eat all the pizza you want. In fact, the conclusion is that the researchers thought the link was once again in the lycopene found in tomatoes. Another study showed possible links between eating tomatoes and lowering the risk of ovarian, gastric, and pancreatic cancers as well.
A study published by PMC found that tomatoes may aid in protection against harmful UV rays and lower the risk of sunburn. Researchers believe it has to do with the high concentration of carotenoids, which is a huge component of – you guessed it – lycopene. Researchers also noted that eating tomatoes in no way replaces the need to wear sunscreen. Consider the skin protection an added bonus when eating your next slice of pizza.
May Reduce Effects of Diabetes
It’s always a good idea to include fruits and veggies in your diet no matter what, but especially if you have diabetes or are at risk for having diabetes. Studies have shown that tomatoes treat symptoms such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and tissue damage caused by diabetes. This is by no means a quick way to lower your blood sugar or reverse tissue damage, but incorporating more tomatoes into your meals can have major benefits in the long run!
Tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: Vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, a third of us get too little vitamin C and almost half get too little vitamin A. Tomato puree has more potassium than fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste has twice the potassium of puree. No wonder pizza is practically a health food!SKM: below-content placeholder