Tomatoes are so commonly used, it’s easy to forget their very powerful health benefits. But tomato nutrition is right up there with the most popular of superfoods.
The red ball of deliciousness is actually a fruit and contributes to your health in more ways than one. Tomatoes are have an antioxidant content that is credited for most of its benefits, but they don’t stop there.
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and were once considered toxic, only becoming common in the 1800s. Perfect in sandwiches, soups, salads, raw or cooked, tomatoes qualify as a citrus fruit, which also makes them particularly apt for canning. Lycopene is part of the carotenoid family. Carotenoids are pigments that give tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables an orange or reddish color, and they have high antioxidant potential.
Surprised? Below are 10 more uses for tomatoes that you may never have imagined!
1. Prevent Breasts Cancer
Lycopene may have cholesterol synthesis-inhibiting effects and contribute to the fall of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
2. Hold Back Aging
Lycopene is an antioxidant that fights cellular damage, including that of the skin. This means it helps to fight free radicals and boost the youthful appearance of facial skin, keeping you young and fresh longer. The vitamin A in tomatoes also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
3. Prevent Prostate Cancer
Men, take heed! According to some studies, people with a higher intake of lycopene have a lower incidence of prostate cancer.
4. Condition Dry Hair
One tomato contains 28 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin C, which is important for hair health. In fact, not getting enough vitamin C can lead to dry hair with splitting ends. Apply raw tomato juice to your hair, let it sit, and then rinse before drying to keep hair conditioned throughout the winter months.
5. Prevent Stomach Cancer
In a study that aimed to see the connection between lycopene and cancer prevention, it was observed that lycopene does indeed prevent cancer, especially for those related to the stomach. In another study, it was shown that the consumption of large amounts of tomato may reduce the risk of gastric cancer.
6. Avoid Sun Burn
According to one study, 23 women who easily burned under the sun were asked to follow a tomato paste diet. Twelve weeks later, when these women were exposed to the sun, they experienced a 30-percent increase in skin protection!
7. Treat Urinary Tract Infection
Tomatoes are often treated as acidic, although when they enter the blood stream they turn alkaline and will actually help to stabilize pH levels in your body. This is good news for those suffering from a UTI, which is improved by a lessening of acid in the body.
8. Ward Off Inflammation
Tomato’s lycopene content has an anti-inflammatory affect on the body and this can lead to the improvement of various diseases as well as prevent future ones. Turn off the tide of inflammation with tomatoes!
9. Cook Them
To boost the lycopene capacity of tomatoes, cook them! Cooking tomatoes breaks down tough lycopene cell walls and helps the antioxidant become more bio-available to the body. Cook your own tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes or bake cherry tomatoes in the oven before adding them to a salad.
10. Boost Bone Health
Tomatoes provide nearly 18 percent of your daily value of vitamin K in just one cup. Vitamin K is crucial in maintaining bone health by keeping calcium molecules in the bone intact and preventing bone mineralization.
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