Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, as well as other important plant compounds. They are rich in lycopene, vitamin C, potassium, folate, vitamin K, beta carotene and more, which can positively impact heart health, provide cancer prevention, and improve the skin. Not only are they healthy, but fresh garden-grown tomatoes are also extremely delicious.
According to Healthline, tomatoes are the major source of lycopene in our diet. Lycopene is a plant compound that helps give tomatoes their red pigment. Lycopene has been shown to reduce the risk of both heart disease and cancer. Heart attacks and strokes are the world’s most common causes of death, so tomatoes can be very beneficial. Studies have also found that supplementing lycopene may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and protect against sunburns.
Vitamins and Minerals
Tomatoes are also high in many essential vitamins and minerals that lead to better health.
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant and helps repair tissues. Just one average sized tomato contains approximately 28% of your daily vitamin C needs.
- Potassium is beneficial for blood pressure control and can help prevent heart disease.
- Folate (vitamin B9) is an important vitamin for pregnant women because it promotes normal tissue growth and cell functions.
- Vitamin K (phylloquinone) is good for bone health and blood clotting.
Tomatoes are low in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates, and are a good source of fiber, so you really can’t go wrong eating them. When choosing tomatoes, always try to get fresh, locally-grown ones. When they ripen naturally, they will develop a rich, sweet flavor. Commercially harvested tomatoes are picked when still green and sprayed with artificial ethylene gas to force them to turn red. This process can produce bland tomatoes that are lacking in flavor.
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