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What Are the Health Benefits of Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are normally found chopped up in healthy meals like salads or as a single slice on a hamburger, but they are actually very healthy for the human body. Having the scientific name of Solanum lycopersicum, tomatoes are traced back by historians to the coastal highlands of Central and South America where they grew in countries like Ecuador and Peru, and then cultivated in ancient Mexico. In the Nahuan language of Central American Aztecs tomatoes were called “tomati”.
Spanish explorers introduced the tomato to Europe in the 1500’s and called it “pomodoro”, which is Spanish for “golden apple”. In the 18th Century tomatoes were made famous in Italian cuisine for being an integral ingredient for the making of pizza.
Tomatoes Fight Against Cancer
A case-control study was performed in the Czech Republic from 2006 to 2009 where 530 people participated. 310 of these people had pancreatic cancer. The results of this study revealed that a very strong protective effect was found in tomatoes, posting a crude odds ratio of 0.28. It is suggested that more than 3 portions of cooked vegetables per week, including tomatoes, would help treat pancreatic cancer.
The content phenolic compounds and ascorbic acid of 3 yellow tomato varieties were tested. Results indicate that phenolic acids decreased in all the samples after processing. Due to the high content of bioactive compounds and the cytotoxicity towards cancer cells, tomatoes prove to treat human cancer cell lines efficiently.
Tomatoes Contain Anti-Inflammatory Properties
One study found that tomato extracts altered the production of interleukins and chemokines in Peripheral Blood Leukocytes and decreased the Endothelial Dystfunction-associated expression of adhesion molecules in endothelial cells.
Tomato products such as ketchup were evaluated to examine the impact they had on human monocytes and vascular endothelial cells. Tomato products were compared with independent bioactives like lycopene, alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid combined and by themselves, and results showed a significant decrease in the gene expression and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-Alpha and IL-8.
Tomatoes Contain Antioxidant Properties
In 2012 a study was conducted at the University of Barcelona, and what was discovered was higher levels of phenolic compounds in organic tomatoesetd.ohiolink.edu/…et/osu1354735735/inline than conventional tomatoes. Rosa M. Lamuela states that during the processing of ketchup and tomato juice there were lower levels of polyphenols the differences in identifying these compounds were verified. 34 different phenolic compounds were identified, which includes lycopene and Vitamin C.
Epidemiological findings confirm the observed health effects to the body due to the presence of varied antioxidants in tomatoes. The peels of tomatoes along with lycopene contain significantly high amounts of ascorbic acid and phenols. The highest amounts of antioxidants are said to be carried by 818 cherry tomatoes.
Skin Protection: An Effective Health Benefit of Tomatoes
The Ohio State University has documented the benefits of tomatoes at great length, and one health benefit that stands out is that tomatoes can protect the skin. The sun emits electromagnetic radiation in the ultraviolet (UV) range from 280 nm to 400 nm. UVC is the most harmful form of radiation as it goes under 280 nm. The carotenoids of tomatoes are a key factor in protecting a person’s skin. The pigment melanin absorbs light and reduces the amount which passes through the layers of the skin. Melanin ultimately reduces subsequent skin damage. Carotenoids absorb light, capturing and assisting in the dissipation of excess energy produced during photosynthesis.
Tomatoes Treat Acne
Additionally tomatoes give your face the oxygen it needs to avoid wrinkling, and more specifically acne. Antioxidants are helpful in fighting off free radicals, and the nutrients that come with tomatoes are parts of the antioxidant package. Vitamin A (tomatoes contain 25% of daily value), Vitamin C (18.9 milligrams or 32%), and Vitamin K (11.8 micrograms or 15%) are essential for treating acne problems.
There are a variety of ways to use a tomato for acne treatment. You can simply cut a tomato in half and rub it on your face, which works well in treating minor acne breakouts. A tomato facial mask involves cutting an X on the top of a tomato, putting it under warm water for a few minutes, peeling the skin and turning the tomato’s pulp into a paste before applying it to the face. This facial mask should rest for at least 1 hour. Lawrence E. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic lists tomatoes as being viable tools of treating acne.
Tomatoes Benefit Nursing Mothers
For nursing mothers it is actually beneficial to consume tomatoes. Researchers discovered that tomato products increases the lycopene concentrations in breast milk. Preferably consuming cooked tomatoes is best. It was also discovered that eating tomato sauce increased lycopene concentrations in breast milk more than eating fresh tomatoes. For nursing mothers it is suggested that they consume at least 1 serving of Vitamin A, and tomatoes are listed under recommendation.
G.K., a peer counselor for breastfeeding with the Nursing Mothers Council in the San Francisco Bay Area, states that mothers can basically eat anything they like as long as the baby doesn’t have a negative reaction to the breast milk a couple hours after the mother consumes food.
Tomatoes Promote Cardiovascular Health
3 Australian researchers conducted a study involving 20 people, specifically 14 men and 6 women, who whose ages ranged from 43 to 82 years old. According to The American Journal of the American Medical Association, these people who had type 2 diabetes consumed either tomato juice or a placebo juice. Half of the group drank 1 cup of tomato juice for 3 weeks, and the results showed a significant reduction in platelet clumping and aggregation, which are components that lead to blood clots.
Diets play a complex role in protecting cardiovascular health. Along with Vitamins A, C and K, folate (tomatoes contain 27.3 micrograms or 6% daily value) and potassium (353 milligrams or 10%), play key roles in improving cardiovascular health. The nutrients found in tomatoes can either function independently or in concert to protect lipoproteins and vascular cells from oxidation. One study finds that tomatoes have cardioprotective functions as they can reduce LDL cholesterol, homocysteine and blood pressure.