tomato

Tomatoes – the indispensable berry that is a part of every kitchen! This wonder berry has a large number of health benefits and we would see just 6 of them here!

Nutrition value of tomatoes

Tomatoes as we’ve all seen is juicy and this is due to the reason that it had high water content (almost 95%) and the remaining 5% is fiber content. Due to this reason, a medium sized tomato adds a meager 22 calories to you. However, the benefits are aplenty.

Tomatoes are rich in the below Vitamins and minerals:

  • Lycopene – Many of its benefits will be seen in detail in the paragraphs that follow.
  • Vitamin C – A rich anti-oxidant and important for various aspects such as collagen production, healthy skin, ligaments and blood vessels.
  • Potassium – Many of us are deficient in this mineral while just a cup of raw tomato juice can give you more than 500 milligrams of potassium.
  • Folate – Almost every pregnant woman, would have been asked to take supplements by her doctor during her pregnancy. This is an important nutrient that promotes normal growth of tissue and cell function
  • Vitamin K – Key for bone strength and blood coagulation
  • Tomatoes are also extremely low in carbohydrates and hence is a superfood for those who are on a weight loss regimen or just want to watch their weight.

Top health benefits of tomato

To control cholesterol levels

Tomatoes are very high in the anti-oxidant Lycopene and regularly including tomatoes in the diet would help to reduce cholesterol levels. Consumption can be in the form of a salad, juice, soup or just including them in everyday dishes.

Tomato – a super food for Type 2 Diabetes

Tomatoes contains various nutrients such as iron and vitamins C, K and E. It has a very low GI (Glycemic index) and hence is an ideal food for people with Type 2 Diabetes. However it is better to eat it in the form of soups or in dishes rather than as a juice form since any fruit consumed in the form of a juice for diabetes may not be the best option.

Tomato for overall skincare

Just slice a piece of tomato and apply it on your face. Leave it on for twenty minutes and wash it off with a mild soap. If you aren’t particular about using soap, you could go the Ayurveda way and wash it with a natural scrub – Gram flour (Referred to as Besan in India). This is a great combination and gives skin an instant glow. The results are unending . Tomato is a remedy for almost all skin problems and can help you keep it healthy!

Tomato graphic2

For better vision

Lycopene is found in abundance in the blood and is a carotenoid. This anti-oxidant serves as a guard and prevents Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) and thereby blindness due to ageing. They also protect eyesight and result in better vision due to large amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthine present in this fruit.

Tomatoes as a remedy for urinary tract infections

A bowl of tomato soup with mint leaves will provide relief from urinary tract infections when consumed over a period of time. Alternatively, tomatoes can also be consumed along with ginger to have the same effect.

To reduce Hypertension

Tomatoes are also rich in potassium. This immediately translates to the fact that, they can reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure or hypertension. Due to the role of potassium as a vasodilator (that which reduces the tension in arteries and blood vessels), the stress on the heart is reduced due to better circulation and blood flow.

How to include tomatoes in your diet

I don’t think there could be another vegetable or fruit that is even half as versatile as tomatoes. Starting from salads to soups, tomatoes can be used in various ways and in almost every cuisine that we’ve heard of.

Tomato drink – Steps:

  1. Take two big tomatoes, chop them roughly and blend them with a few mint leaves, some cumin seeds and a dash of pepper.
  2. Add little water to dilute the juice.
  3. Chop and add a few leaves of coriander to this juice.

Tomato juice

Tomato Rasam (Tomato lentil soup) – Steps:

  1. Cook one tablespoon of Toor dal with little salt (lentil) till the dal is soft.
  2. Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds.
  3. Chop two medum sized tomatoes, add the roasted coriander and cumin seeds, add little pepper powder and puree them in a blender.
  4. In a pan, mix the cooked lentil, pureed tomatoes, add salt and brink it to boil.
  5. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and asafoetida to the boiling soup.
  6. Add water as required.
  7. After 5 – 6 minutes, add finely chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the stove.

Drink this hot or warm.

Tomato soup

Who should avoid tomatoes?

As far as tomatoes go, they do no harm if consumed in moderation. The below pointers are only for those who consume high quantities of tomatoes in any form.

  • Those who have GERD – High quantities of tomatoes when consumed leads to acid reflux. This is due to the presence of citric acid, malic acid and oxalic acid in tomatoes. This could then cause heartburn for those who already suffer  from GERD.
  • Those with cardio vascular disease – If you already have high sodium content in your diet, eating tomatoes could be harmful to you.

In moderation – always!

Kalaivani Selvaraj, MBA, got her Master’s degree in Human Resources. Due to her interest in natural healing, she pursued studies in the field of alternative medicine and is certified in Aromatherapy by Isla Verde Spa Training Academy. Ms. Kalaivani Selvaraj is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.