Top Reasons To Include More Tomatoes In Your Diet
By Jenna Barrington
Tomatoes are one of those foods that are easy to come by in America! Because they are inexpensive, versatile and easy to grow, you can find tomatoes in some form or another in over 30% of popular American dishes.
The best way to eat tomatoes, however, is RAW. A raw tomato is bursting with nutrients and enzymes and is also alkalizing to the body. Once cooked, although still a healthy food, tomatoes lose some of their enzyme power and become acidic to the body.
Don’t throw out the cooked tomato products just yet, though – research shows that heated tomatoes (in moderation) have many health benefits too!
Here are just a few of the benefits tomatoes can have on your health:
Lowered Risk of Cancer
Tomatoes are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene, which has been studied for its ability to help prevent and/or combat certain cancers. Interestingly enough, scientists say that this antioxidant becomes the most potent after being slightly heated.
Because tomatoes are packed with antioxidants, they naturally serve to keep you looking young and prevent premature signs of aging. Antioxidants fight excess free radicals in the body, which may otherwise cause the damage of cells, skin and organs.
It is also believed that the antioxidant lycopene (found in tomatoes) can help protect the skin against sun damage.
Boost Heart Health
There are numerous studies that have linked intake of lycopene to a healthier cardiovascular system and decreased risk of heart disease. Powerful antioxidants like lycopene help to fight free radicals, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, keeping arteries healthy and flowing unhindered.
Boost Immune System
One tomato contains about 17 milligrams of vitamin C, which is a little under ⅓ the recommended daily intake. Of course you have heard about vitamin C and how important it is to the proper functioning of your immune system. Studies have found that getting enough vitamin C shortens the duration of the common cold and may help one to overcome other similar illnesses.
Good Eye Health
One tomato contains over 1000 IU of vitamin A! This is about ⅓ of the daily recommended dose. This vitamin is vital for maintaining good vision. Deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to poor eye health.
Protection from Lung Damage
Even if you aren’t a smoker, chances are that you breathe in secondhand smoke at least once in awhile. Coupled with pollution, this can lead to some serious lung problems, including lung disease and cancer.
The lycopene in tomatoes has been studied for its ability to help protect the lungs against these outside toxins and there has been increasing evidence that a diet rich in whole, antioxidant rich foods like tomatoes may help lower one’s risk of lung damage.
Tomatoes are natural diuretics, which helps to flush fluids from the body as well as bacteria from the urinary tract. This may be beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections as well as other issues in the down-under.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables with high fiber has been linked again and again to improved digestion and normal, healthy bowel movements. Tomatoes are no exception!
Favorite Tomato Recipes
Looking for some creative ways to add more tomatoes to your diet? Check out some of my favorite recipes below.
The jury is out and research has proven that a diet full of whole, real foods and less/no processed is absolutely amazing for your health! If you are looking for more vitality, glowing skin, better eyesight, luscious hair and freedom from illness and disease, then turn to good food.
Do you have a favorite tomato recipe? How about a great homemade salsa? Please share below!
Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.
Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
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