Tomatoes, with the botanical name, Lycopersicon esculentum, are fruits that have various colors and sizes. They could be yellow, orange or red, and they measure as little as half an inch in diameter, ranging up to 4 inches and even larger. Even though they are classified as fruits, they don’t they’re not as tasty as other fruits. Their origin can be traced to South America.
Nutrition Information of Tomatoes (per 100g serving)
- Vitamin A 840IU
- Vitamin C 13mg
- Vitamin E 0.5mg
- Vitamin K 8mcg
- Niacin 0.6mg
- Vitamin B6 -0.1mg
- Folate 15.0mcg
- Copper 0.1mg
- Manganese 0.1mg
- Calories 18g
- Total Carbohydrate 4g
- Dietary Fiber 1.5g
- Calcium 10mg
- Magnesium 11mg
- Phosphorus 24mg
- Potassium 240 mg
- Sugars 2.5g
What are the Health Benefits of Tomatoes?
Maintenance of Heart Health
Tomatoes contain beta-carotene and lycopene — nutrients that promise a reduced risk of stroke and heart diseases. They also reduce the impact of oxidative damage on the heart and prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots. Tomatoes are particularly excellent at lowering cholesterol effect. Who else is considering adding some more tomatoes in their meals?
Tomatoes Enhance Skin Health
Tomatoes comprise about 95% water, making them essential in maintaining skin health. Lycopene, also in tomatoes, has a UV ray reflecting property, reducing the possibility of damage as a result of sun exposure. Quite interesting.
They Reduce Cancer Risk
Studies have for years now, attributed reduced risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers to tomato consumption. Again, this is as a result of the presence of lycopene, the amazing tomato quality.
Tomatoes are Splendid for Weight Loss
Increased oxidation of fat cells is not uncommon when dieting to lose weight. However, this has got its side effects, as it increases other oxidation-related effects. Tomatoes can help deal with this increased exposure to oxidative stimuli, as a result of its high level of lycopene content together with other phytocompounds, including vitamins C and E.
Tomatoes Improve Immune Function
Tomatoes are rich in a number of antioxidant vitamins such as C and E. These vitamins further strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.
Tomatoes Improve Bone Health
Lycopene is beneficial for preventing oxidative damage to the bone.
Tomatoes Reduce the Risk of Thromboembolism
Thromboembolism is abnormal platelet and blood cell clotting, experienced during a stroke or heart attack. Tomatoes contain compounds that inhibit excessive clotting processes, and as a result, decreases the risk of suffering the horrible events.
Tomatoes Reduce Lipid Peroxidation
The internal part of the blood vessels are lined with fats and lipids, which makes them prime targets for oxidative damage — now, this is where atherosclerosis and heart disease begins. Tomatoes, reliably powerful antioxidants, reduce the extent of this oxidative damage and slows down development of atherosclerotic plaques. Tomatoes are super!
Tomatoes Support Good Eyesight
Tomatoes contain Vitamin A, and they reduce damage done to the macula of the eye, safeguarding the optic nerve and improving night vision. Lycopene reduces symptoms of cataracts and blurriness.
- People used to be afraid to eat tomatoes, thinking they were poisonous because of their relation to the belladonna plant.
- Tomatoes were first taken to Europe in the mid-1500s.
- The first tomatoes in Europe were yellow.
- There are over 7,500 tomato varieties grown around the world.
- Tomatoes increase in weight as they ripen, and even after harvesting.
- Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene.
- The confusion of tomato being called a vegetable arose after the 1890s when the US Supreme Court named them a vegetable for taxation purposes. A fruit is simply the edible part of the plant containing seeds, while a vegetable is stem, leaf or root.
Uses of Tomatoes
The uses of tomatoes are quite numerous. Together with other ingredients, they add flavor to meals. Green tomatoes are used to prepare chutneys and pickles, while the regular tomatoes are used to prepare salads and sandwiches. Tomato juice is quite a healthy drink, a good way to take some lycopene into the body system.
Beyond these, what other uses are there?
Tomatoes Clear Hair Stains
People who swim regularly may experience changes in the color of their hair because pool water has some chlorine in it. Tomatoes are quite helpful in removing stains from the hair. Simply apply pure tomato juice to the hair and leave it for 20 minutes, rinse it off with water, and add some shampoo and conditioner.
They Kill Odors
Tomato juice is quite a reliable soaking agent to remove odors. Applying freshly squeezed tomato juice on the scalp and massaging into the hair does the wonder. Just ensure you leave it for about thirty minutes before washing off.
Eliminating Dandruff And Itchy Scalp
Tomatoes are quite useful for curing itchy scalp and dandruff. These conditions, if not attended to, lead to other scalp problems such as eczema and scalp psoriasis. Tomato has got a high amount of vitamin C, which makes it reliable for fighting dandruff. What’s more? It provides collagen for proper tissue development of the scalp.
How does this work? Take 2 to 3 ripe tomatoes and make them into a thick pulp. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to it, and mix well to form a smooth paste. Apply this gently on the scalp, and try not to scratch the scalp with nails. Leave it for 30 minutes before rinsing.
Selecting the Right Tomatoes
Two common shapes of tomatoes are the round or pear-shaped, and cherry-sized. Tomatoes that are rich in colors such as deep red, vibrant oranges, or tangerines are most suitable. The tomatoes that are yellow and others purple in colors are less acidic and don’t have much flavor.
Tomatoes that ripen on the vine are preferable, as the sugars, acidic, and aroma compounds remain intact. Avoid buying tomatoes that are overripe and soft.
Tomatoes should be well shaped, without dents, cracks, or bruises.
Tomatoes are sensitive to cold — as it can negatively affect its ripening process and flavor. It’s okay to store them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and get them consumed asap.
If somehow, you bought slightly unripe tomatoes, to make them ripen, wrap them in a paper bag with banana or apples and leave overnight. Ethylene gas emitted by the fruits will speed up the ripening process. Place them in the refrigerator after they are fully ripe, so they will stay fresh for some days. Taking them out from the refrigerator at least thirty minutes before using them enhance their juiciness and flavor.
Who enjoys tomato ketchup? Well, I do. Let’s discuss some ketchup facts.
- In the 18th century, ketchup recipes began to appear in British and then American cookbooks.
- A long time ago, in the United Kingdom, ketchup was made with mushrooms as a primary ingredient, rather than tomatoes. Meanwhile, in the United States, mushroom ketchup existed as early as 1770 — it was prepared by British colonists in English speaking colonies in North America.
- A number of ketchup variations existed, however, the tomato-based version didn’t appear until about a century after other types had been in existence.
- 90% of American homes keep ketchup in their kitchen.
- Four tablespoons of ketchup provide the same nutritional value as a medium-sized tomato.
- There could be poorly-made ketchup, depending on the tomato harvest at the time. However, ketchup is made from ripe tomatoes in the summer.
- Ketchup is one of the few packaged foods that doesn’t use any preservatives.
- Commercial tomato ketchup has an additive.
- The water within ketchup migrates together as the larger molecules within its sediment, causing water to separate out.