The nutritional facts and health benefits of tomatoes are well-known. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, and the fruit is a good source of vitamin C. Tomato consumption has been linked to a decreased risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
Tomatoes are the edible berry of the Solanum Lycopersicum plant. They can be classified as fruits because they are flowering plants that have ovaries containing seeds and as vegetables because they are savoury and contain less sugar than fruits. There are several varieties of tomatoes including the cherry tomatoes, jubilee tomatoes, green zebra tomatoes, the Cherokee purple tomatoes, the great white tomatoes and so many others. These berries can be eaten in several ways, in salads, sauces, as a side or main dish or as a drink either raw or cooked. tomatoes are very rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. We are going to look at the Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits of tomatoes.
A tomato is made up of mainly water (95%), carbohydrates (4%), fats and protein (1%). Other nutrients found in tomatoes include the B complex Vitamins, Vitamin c, Vitamin E, Vitamin k, minerals like phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and Lycopene which is an antioxidant that helps the body to fight against diseases.
The table below shows the quantity of some nutrients contained in 100g of raw tomatoes. These nutrients may be higher or lower depending on the variety of the tomatoes.
Nutrient Quantity (grams) % Daily Value
Carbohydrates 3.9 2
Protein 0.9 1
Vitamin C 0.014 17
Vitamin E 0.00054 4
Vitamin K 0.000008 8
Potassium 0.24 5
Magnesium 0.011 3
Phosphorus 0.024 3
Water 94.5 95
AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF TOMATO
Tomatoes are nutrient-dense and contain high amounts of antioxidants, therefore they provide a lot of health benefits to different organs in the body and help to prevent so many diseases.
Immune System – tomatoes contain lots of lycopene, an antioxidant which helps the body fight against diseases and boosts the immune system. Studies have also shown that lycopene helps the body to fight against, colon, cervical, pancreas and breast cancer.
Blood Vessels – the vitamin k helps to prevent blood clotting and promotes wound healing.
Eyes – the lutein, B-carotene and zeaxanthin help to improve vision, and protect the eyes from diseases such as cataract and macular degeneration which can eventually lead to blindness.
Heart – lycopene lowers cholesterol level, lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of stroke, and ultimately promotes heart health.
Skin – lycopene protects the skin from UV rays from the sun thereby reducing the risk of sunburn. It also smoothens the skin and decreases the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines.
Pregnancy – tomatoes are rich in folate which helps to promote tissue growth and prevent birth defects like the neural tube defect.
Digestive system – the fibre content of tomatoes promotes bowel movement and prevents constipation.
Mouth – tomatoes help to protect the teeth and gums and keep the mouth fresh. Caution should be exercised when eating raw tomatoes as the acidic content can damage the enamel. It is recommended to wait for about 30minutes after eating raw tomatoes before brushing to protect the teeth from acid damage.
Weight loss – because tomatoes are high in fibre, drinking a cup of tomato juice promotes fullness, curbs the appetite, and so aids weight loss.
Fresh tomatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator as they tend to lose their flavour. They are best stored away from direct sunlight, preferably at room temperature and unwashed. Fresh tomatoes can also be preserved by drying directly in the sun or they can be pureed and stored in cans.
ORGANIC VERSUS CHEMICAL
Organic grown tomatoes possess similar nutritional content as those chemically grown. However, the organic grown may be safer and healthier since there’s less exposure to pesticides.
CANNED VERSUS FRESH
Canned tomatoes may contain less nutrients than fresh tomatoes due to loss of some nutrients during the canning process, but research has shown that canned tomatoes have a higher lycopene content than fresh tomatoes.
In summary we can enjoy tomatoes as much as we desire whether they be organic or chemical based, canned or fresh.
Note: people who suffer from pollen allergy may likely experience similar allergic reactions with tomatoes. Other than this, tomatoes are generally well tolerated.
5 SIMPLE TOMATO RECIPES
There are several ways to spice up our meals with tomatoes. Below are some easy tomatoes recipes
1. Roasted cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes (cut into halves)
Olive or Garlic oil
Ground black pepper
• Preheat your oven to 200°C.
• Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray then sprinkle with oil, pepper, and salt.
• Roast until soft, that should take about 25minutes.
• Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with (chopped) basil leaves.
This can be eaten alone as a side dish or as toppings for pizza and pasta.
2. Tomato Salad
• Mix the olive oil, sherry vinegar and mustard to make the salad dressing.
• Cut tomatoes into cubes and pour into the dressing and mix.
• Sprinkle parsley on it and serve.
3. Tomato Sandwich
2 slices of bread
• Rub mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread.
• Neatly place the tomato and onion slices on one slice of bread then cover up with the second slice of bread and press lightly.
• Enjoy your sandwich.
You can also add slices of boiled eggs and basil leaves to further enrich your sandwich.
4. Tomato Stew
Beef (or your choice of protein)
• Spice the beef (or protein) and cook until tender, set aside.
• Wash tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, ginger, and garlic, put all together in a blender and blend until smooth.
• Heat up olive oil in a pot, add salt, sliced onions and garlic, add the blended tomatoes and fry until the tomatoes are dried.
• Add beef with the stock, add curry, thyme, and seasoning cubes.
• Stir and allow to simmer for some minutes so that the spices can blend into the stew properly.
• Set the stew aside. Serve with white rice or pasta.
5. Tomato and egg sauce
• Chop your tomatoes, onions, and garlic together.
• Heat up a little oil in a saucepan, pour in the tomatoes mix
• Sprinkle salt and pepper and allow to cook for 10-15minutes
• Break and whisk the eggs.
• Heat up a separate pan with a little oil, pour in the eggs and stir until well cooked.
• Pour the eggs into the tomato sauce and mix.
• Serve with white rice, bread, yam (boiled or fried).
Now that you know the nutritional facts and health benefits of tomatoes and the countless ways to incorporate them into your diet, never go a day without having some juicy tomatoes.