Tomatoes are commonly available in India and are also included in most of the Indian cuisines, across the country. Tomatoes are also one of those vegetables that can be easily grown on a balcony or terrace as well. It is also used in salads in most households, and even soups, juices, jams, and ketchup are made out of tomato, and there are places where it is referred to as a fruit. There are some myths about tomato consumption, and few people tend to avoid it. But you may be surprised to know that tomatoes are highly beneficial for your health.
It is a well-known fact that our body needs a certain amount of nutrients to keep it healthy. While certain vegetables and fruits provide us with a part of these, tomatoes contain a whole lot of this stuff. For example, by eating tomatoes our body gets the required doses of Vitamins: A, K, B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, and C. Additionally, it also provides us iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, chromium, zinc, choline, and phosphorus.
Above all this, tomatoes also contain a great amount of phytonutrients namely flavonols, flavanones, carotenoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, glycosides, and fatty acid derivatives as well. These collectively provide good antioxidant care to our body, and that leads to the prevention of many diseases. Vitamin C, especially, helps build immunity in the body, which in turn, can prevent many infections.
Cardiovascular issues are a real threat to the aging population, and perhaps including tomatoes in the diet may be one way of stalling it. Studies have proved that the lycopene present in tomatoes can bring down the risk of cardiovascular diseases by as much as 30%. It has also been suggested by researchers to have tomatoes in a cooked or mashed form, as that releases more lycopene than eating it raw.
Kidney and Gall Stone Prevention
It is said that tomatoes help improve the overall digestive functioning of our body through better liver health. It prevents constipation, which is another issue troubling the seniors. Long term consumption of tomatoes can keep kidney and gall stones at bay and also prevent mild issues like diarrhea. Another reason why senior citizens should include tomatoes happens to be its pivotal role in preventing UTI ((Urinary Tract Infection). This is rather common as people age, especially among women.
One other common problem in aging is the degeneration of vision and other related eye issues. Tomatoes contain beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are phytonutrients that can protect as well as improve the vision.
Skin and Bone Health
The other degenerating parts of our body that tomatoes can benefit are hair, skin, and bone. Obviously, the Calcium in tomatoes helps with bone health, while Vitamin K helps with hair growth, luster, and revitalization. Components in tomato prevent damage to skin cells and help improve its appearance.
The lycopene in tomatoes that help with heart health can also help prevent cancers like lung, gut, and prostate. Besides the high amount of antioxidants can help prevent the formation of free radicals or fight their functioning to ensure body cells are not damaged.
Multiple ways to consume
Being a vegetable/fruit, tomato is something can be consumed easily in many ways. You could just cut them for a salad at lunch or dinner, or quickly blend a few of them into a cup of juice. The juice can be pepped up with a pinch of pepper and a bit of lemon juice, or even mint leaves can be added for a better flavor.
One good thing is that it can be cooked easily in minutes, and you could also make a soup out of it. Apart from this, many curries that we Indians have tomatoes blended into it as the main ingredient. Even tomato rice is a favorite dish of many who otherwise may not prefer to eat a tomato. Of course, some households make jams, pickles, sauces, etc. for preserving tomatoes. It doesn’t matter which way you consume it, but scientific evidence suggests that it is good to include tomatoes in the diet, for maintaining our overall health.