Health Facts and Benefits of Tomatoes.
Tomatoes come in a number of sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors.
But aside from these elements, do you know what tomatoes can do for you and your health? Let’s explore!
Tomatoes, though simple in form and idea, are actually a rather complicated food. It begins with the timeless debate: are they fruit or vegetables? While they are most commonly associated with vegetables, tomatoes are botanically fruit. This is because of how it is formed, from its early stages as a flower to its later stages as a bulb containing seeds. However, in 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that the tomato can actually be categorized as a vegetable in the United States in the landmark Nix v. Hedden case. This decision was hinged on trading protocol and relied on the colloquialism of tomatoes as a vegetable, despite their botanical nature. Long story short, tomatoes are both a fruit and a vegetable, depending on any given situation.
For many people, it does not matter whether a tomato can be classified as a fruit or a vegetable, what matters is the taste and texture. People are often divided, and staunchly so, on the topic of tomatoes. Either they adore them in their dishes, or they despise them. Despite the preference of the eater, tomatoes are packed with plenty of health benefits that should be enough to convince anyone to try them at least once in their lifetime! Let’s go over a few of the basic health properties of tomatoes!
Tomatoes and Their Benefits
Tomatoes, or Solanum lycopersicum, are a member of the nightshade family, but don’t let that dissuade you from reaping their many health benefits! Here are 5 reasons you should incorporate tomatoes into your diet!
Image by Rodion Kutsaev
Tomatoes are Great for Lowering Cholesterol
Tomatoes, especially when processed or cooked, are extremely high in a compound called “lycopene.” This compound is especially useful to the body as it manages its levels of cholesterol.
Though cholesterol is necessary for our bodies to do what it needs and keep our systems functioning properly, excess cholesterol can cause significant problems, especially for those at risk or suffering from cardiovascular issues. If you happen to be looking for foods to minimize cholesterol levels, adding some tasty tomato sauce to your pasta or a glass of tomato juice is a great option for you!
Image by Alex Ghizila
Tomatoes are Sodium-Free
Much like cholesterol levels, sodium levels are a tricky and slippery slope for many people to manage on a regular basis. Sodium is responsible for keeping water retained where it needs to be in the body, but too much of it can pose a big risk and have the opposite effect if one is not careful. This is especially concerning to those that already or are at risk to suffer from heart-health related conditions, but managing sodium levels is something most people should be doing. Many foods available to us, unless sourced from a local or personal garden, contain a significant amount of preservatives and especially sodium, which means excess can be achieved quickly if one is not paying attention!
Tomatoes are a great option for anyone looking for low-sodium food options that don’t wish to sacrifice flavor!
Image by おにぎり
Tomatoes are Gluten-Free
Gluten is one of those things that many people do not take into account when planning their diet and food management. Some people may not be affected by gluten much, but others may be severely impacted by it. Whether by choice or because of an intolerance or allergy, gluten-free lifestyles are growing in popularity. For anyone trying to navigate the grocery aisles while avoiding foods that contain gluten, tomatoes are a great option to look at! In fact, all fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free!
Image by Dan Gold
Tomatoes are Low in Calories
If you or anyone you know has ever tried to lose weight, you are likely well aware of how difficult that venture can be. Though there are so many ways that people attempt to achieve this, there is a basic science that must be implemented to see healthy results on this journey. This includes getting plenty of rest, exercise, water, and nutritious food. Part of this process is hinged on energy input versus output and trying to increase the output so that it is more than the input amount. Simply put, burning more calories than what is being consumed. This calorie deficit is not easy to achieve or sustain, but finding the right kinds of foods is instrumental in seeing success with it! One of these foods is tomatoes, which on average contain less than 30 calories per fruit (or vegetable, depending on your preference!)
Image by Vince Lee
Tomatoes are Fat-Free
Much like managing calories while trying to lose weight, managing fat levels can also play a big role in the results you can expect on your journey. Not all fats are bad, but it is important to remember that when it comes to food, most things are healthy when not consumed in excess. An excess intake of fats can leave negative effects on the body, especially in relation to the cardiovascular system. Luckily, there are foods out there that make managing how much fat you have in your diet much easier, one of which being tomatoes! In fact, tomatoes contain less than a gram of fat per tomato!
In conclusion, tomatoes are packed with numerous health benefits and properties that can perfectly complement the diet and lifestyle that suits you best. They are even rich in Vitamin C, which can help you beef up your immune system! If you don’t happen to be a fan of tomatoes, their flavor, or their texture, perhaps these properties will be enough to persuade you into trying a different variety or dish that incorporates tomatoes and explore them once more for the benefit of your health!
We hope you enjoy this article for Tomatoes: What Are They and Why Should They Be On Your Plate? If you tried incorporating these things into your regular routine, make sure to let us know! For more recipes, follow us on social media and make sure to check out our weekly blog posts where we share our new favorite recipes and must-know facts about food and living a healthy lifestyle! Check out the other meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the Pound.