Unarguably, tomatoes are one of the most beloved vegetables worldwide. Still, many don’t know that the popular plant originates in South America and was discovered by the Spanish in the 16th century. Hence, it’s a relatively new species in other parts of the world.
Since then, it’s become an integral part of Italian, Spanish, American, and many other cuisines. The reasons are clear: it’s a delicious vegetable that suits many purposes, such as in salads, sauces, purees and more. Some types such as the Datterino tomato have more specific uses. You can visit this page to see how this sweet cherry tomato is used as a sauce.
Another fact not many know is that there are a lot of tomato varieties, and many have interesting names. You can find Mr. Stripey, Beefsteak, Better Boy, and many other traditional-sounding names like Datterino, Campari, and others.
Yet another interesting fact is that although people generally understand that vegetables are good for your health, not many know the specific health benefits of eating tomatoes. So, let’s check them out!
A Wholesome Plant
Tomatoes are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. However, the main protagonist is lycopene. This is an antioxidant that gives them their red color. An antioxidant’s function is to combat free radicals. These molecules are responsible for damaging cells and affecting the immune system.
But that’s not all. Besides lycopene, tomatoes have vitamins B, E, K, potassium, folate, beta carotene, naringenin, chlorogenic acid, and more. All of these contribute to your health in different ways, so let’s look at how they can help you.
Cancer isn’t a typical disease. It’s an uncontrolled growth of cells that spreads, and there can be many reasons for it to occur. The good news is tomatoes are responsible for fewer incidences of stomach, lung, and prostate cancers in some studies.
The reason for this is still unknown, but it’s believed that lycopene is the compound responsible for this. What is known is that carotenoids (such as beta carotene) seem to protect against breast cancers.
Lower cholesterol and heart health
Tomatoes are also good for your heart. Lycopene is believed to reduce LDL levels, sometimes called “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure. This, in turn, helps to boost the health of your heart.
Besides lycopene, other nutrients such as vitamins B, E and flavonoids are believed to improve your heart’s condition.
Again, thanks to lycopene, tomatoes are also useful for keeping your skin in top shape. This happens in several ways, too. To start, lycopene is believed to contribute to protecting your skin from the sun.
In a study, people ate tomato paste with olive oil for ten weeks and experienced 40% fewer sunburns. It’s a delicious way to combat the sun!
Gum Health, with a Caveat
Eating tomatoes is also beneficial for your gum health. Because of the free-radical fighting characteristics of lycopene, it’s been shown that it helps with gingivitis and periodontitis.
There’s an issue, though. Eating a lot of tomatoes can damage your teeth’s enamel because they are highly acidic. Brushing your teeth can make it worse, so you need to wait a while before giving them a brush.