Tomato is a fruit that is also considered a vegetable and is extensively used in making a wide variety of dishes. It is used in vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes all over the world and also for snacks on a regular basis. It is famous for being used in pizzas, sandwiches and cocktails too. This widely used fruit has many nutritional benefits in addition to its preference in many cultures.
It belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables and its cultivation has been dominant in ancient Spain since the Aztecs. It was introduced to the world by Spanish wanderers and it has since gained massive popularity across all regions of the world.
Health Benefits Of Tomatoes:
1. Filling Food:
As Tomatoes have high water content, they work perfect as filling food. Tomatoes, with its water content moisturises our skin and keeps it healthy and shiny. This is makes this one of the main benefits of tomato.
2. Complete Vitamins & Nutritional content:
It provides almost 20 percent of the daily vitamin intake required, per serving, which is necessary for maintaining good health. It is also known to have all the positive nutrients needed for proper functioning of the human body according to USDA. This is also one of the major tomato benefits.
3. Controls Heart rate:
Being rich in potassium content, it gives about 237 mg of potassium which is useful for controlling heart rate and is helpful in preventing heart diseases and strokes.
The vitamins such as vitamin A, flavonoid B complex, thiamine, folates, niacin etc. are also present in tomatoes that help cure skin and eye diseases.
5. High Blood Pressure:
Tomatoes, with a powerful punch of minerals and nutrients also help in safeguarding our body from High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol.
5. Good for Bones and Teeth:
Being rich in Calcium, it tends to improve bone strength and bone formation in the body. It is also beneficial in maintaining the teeth in healthy state.
7. Free Radicals curbed:
Some of its flavonoid antioxidants, such as lycopene and zea-xanthin are best known to health specialists for their anti-free radical behaviour.
8. Anti Cancerous:
The antioxidant behaviour of this vegetable also helps to prevent many unwanted reactions in the lungs, colon and breasts that can tend to be cancerous. The antioxidants help in the treatment of cancer by preventing carcinogenic reactions in the body which stop by blocking free radicals from proceeding further.
9. Cell Repair and Muscle Building:
It is a naturally rich source of protein, which is good for cell repair and muscle building.
10. Less Fat content:
Other basic nutrients include 4 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, 18 calories and 0 grams of saturated fat. This vegetable can be eaten in good amounts due to the lower rate of calories in tomato.
Tomato: Skin Benefits
Besides cooking, tomato can be used in a number of ways to enhance your beauty. It is considered to be the panacea of skin. It is believed that consuming tomato and tomato products will give you a healthy and beautiful skin. Its beauty benefits are gaining popularity with every passing day.
Some of them are:
11. Tomato is highly effective for treating open pores. Add four drops of tomato juice to 1 tablespoon of water and apply it on your face with the help of a cotton ball. Gently massage your skin with this mixture and leave it on for 15 minutes. Regular application of this will shrink the pore size.
12. Tomatoes are not just an important part of a healthy diet but also work wonders when applied topically on the skin. Applying tomato juice or rubbing tomato halves on the skin evens out the skin and revives the glow giving you a healthy looking skin. It contains high amount of Vitamin C which is known to brighten skin.
13. Tomato seed oil is the newest addition to the line of natural carrier oils and is excellent for treating several skin conditions. These are packed with a substance that fights free radicals and signs of ageing. Tomato seed oil is used for the treatment of mild to severe skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It is also helpful in treating dry and damaged skin. Use a moderate quantity of oil to massage the affected areas of your skin. Leave it overnight and wash it off the next day. You can also add this oil to your facial creams, moisturizer and scrubs, to keep the skin soft and smooth.
14. Vitamin A and C are commonly found in many acne treating medicines and ointments. The high acidic content in tomatoes helps to treat rashes and acne. If you are suffering from tiny zits on your face, then cut the tomato in two halves and apply the inside of it on your face. If you suffer from severe acne problems then peel a fresh tomato and mash it. Apply this pulp on your face and leave it for an hour. Rinse it off and pat dry. Use this pack regularly to get rid of tan and pimples.
15. Excess sebum production leads to clogging of pores that leads to pimples, dirt build up and uneven skin tone. Squeeze juice of 2 tomatoes and add 4 tablespoons of cucumber juice to it. Apply this homemade toner to your face daily with the help of a cotton ball to control excess oil and shine and to unclog the pores.
16. Tomatoes and its products enable the skin to take oxygen in and prevent the signs of ageing. It provides an amazing natural skin treatment which can make the skin look younger and healthy with less effort.
17. According to various studies, tomato contains an antioxidant called lycopene which acts as a natural sunscreen. This provides the skin protection from harsh UV rays.
18. Tomato extract is often used in luxurious body massage oils to combat visible sign of stress on the skin. Tomato extract is also used in eye creams, which, along with other essential ingredients, leaves the eyes looking fresh and revitalized.
19. The astringent properties of tomato make it an excellent choice for combination skin. A pack made from mashed avocados and tomatoes soothes the skin and cleanses it thoroughly to give you a glowing complexion. Apply this face pack and wash it off with lukewarm water after 20 to 30 minutes. Tomato contains natural oil reducing and astringent properties while avocado provides antiseptic and moisturizing effect to the skin.
20. Consumption of at least 16 milligrams of lycopene every day reduces the amount of free radicals in the body to give you a youthful kin. It fights cellular damage and reddening of the skin and also retains the moisture, thus preventing fine lines and wrinkles. This property of tomato makes it an amazing anti -ageing product.
21. Tomato is considered as a natural bleaching agent and is very helpful in lightening the skin tone. Prepare a face pack by mixing 1 teaspoon of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of yoghurt and 2 teaspoon of tomato pulp. Apply it on the face and neck and leave it for 20 minutes. Oatmeal will gently exfoliate the skin, while yoghurt and tomato will help to clear the blemishes. This improves the complexion.
22. According to Prevention Magazine, people who consumed 5 tablespoon of tomato paste daily for 3 consecutive months were naturally protected against sun burn. Sun burnt skin can also be treated by applying tomato on the affected parts. Make a pack by mixing 2 teaspoons of tomato pulp with 1 teaspoon of yoghurt. Apply this on the face, neck, hands and feet. Tomato cools the skin while yoghurt provides a protein boost to make the skin soft and supple.
23. Mix honey with tomato juice to make a thick paste. Apply it on the face and wash it off after 15 minutes to get a smooth and glowing skin.
24. Tomatoes can greatly help you to remove dead skin cells. Grind tomatoes in a mixer with the seeds and add 1 teaspoon of sugar to it. Apply it on the face and massage gently in circular motion. You can also cut 1 tomato into 2 halves and sprinkle some sugar on it. Gently scrub your skin with it to do away with dead skin cells and get a clean and fresh looking skin.
Tomato: Hair Benefits:
You must have noticed that many hair care products including shampoos and conditioners contain tomato extract as one of the ingredients. This is because tomato contains important nutrients like Vitamin A, B C and E, which are excellent stimulants for healthy hair. Some of the benefits of tomatoes for hair include these below.
25. Tomatoes are considered to be an excellent cure for hair loss. It is believed that application of tomato pulp on scalp can prevent hair loss.
26. Tomatoes are amazing natural conditioners coming straight from your kitchen. It provides natural shine to the hair and makes it soft and manageable. Take a few drops of oil in your hand and apply it on your hair. This will act as a leave-in conditioner and will keep the hair manageable and frizz free.
27. Pure, homemade tomato puree can help in bringing radiance and elasticity to dry hair. Mix tomato puree with oil and apply it on the hair. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash it off. This will make the hair super smooth, shiny and flexible as it contains high amounts of protein in it.
28. Regular swimming often changes the colour of the hair due to the high amount of chlorine present in the pool water. Tomato can be a great help to remove the stains from the hair. Apply pure tomato juice to the hair and leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse it off with water, followed by shampoo and conditioning.
29. Tomato juice also acts as a soaking agent to remove odours. Apply freshly squeezed tomato juice on the scalp and massage your hair with it for a few minutes. Leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it off as usual.
30. Moisture often escapes from the scalp during winters, making the hair strands dry and brittle, leading to breakage. So make sure to keep your hair replenished with the help of tomatoes. Tomatoes help to lock the much needed moisture in the hair to prevent it from dry.
31. Tomatoes are very useful for curing itchy scalp and dandruff. Itchy scalp and dandruff leads to other scalp problems, like eczema and scalp psoriasis. Tomato contains high amount of Vitamin C which fights dandruff and provides collagen for proper tissue development of the scalp. Take 2 to 3 ripe tomatoes and make a thick pulp out of it. Add 2 table spoon of lemon juice to it and mix well to form a smooth paste. Apply the pack gently on the scalp. Do not scratch the scalp with nails. Apply it properly on the scalp and leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse your hair with water and let it dry.
32. Tomato hair rinse can be used to impart shine and remove excess build up from the scalp. Take 3 ripe tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds and squeeze the juice out of it. Spray it on your hair and scalp and wash it off after 1 hour.
Selection and Storage:
Tomatoes are available all year round in both fresh and preserved form. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes which are available in various shapes, sizes and colors. Two common shapes of tomatoes are round or pear shaped and cherry sized. Select tomatoes that are rich in color like deep red, vibrant oranges or tangerines. Tomatoes are also available in yellow and purple colors but these are less acidic and thus don’t have much flavour. They should be well shaped, devoid of any dent, cracks or bruises. The skin should be taut and not shriveled or wrinkled. Fresh and ripe tomato yield to slight pressure and emit a sweet fragrance.
Tomatoes are quite sensitive to cold as it can impede its ripening process and even nullify its flavour. So store them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and consume it as early as possible. Purchase tomatoes that ripen in the vine, as the sugars, acidic and aroma compounds remain intact in vine ripened tomatoes. Avoid buying tomatoes that are over ripe and soft.
If by mistake you have bought slightly unripe tomatoes, then wrap them in a paper bag with banana or apples and leave overnight. Ethylene gas emitted by these fruits will speed up the ripening process. Place them in the refrigerator after they are fully ripe, where they will stay fresh for 2 to 3 more days. Take them out from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using them as this will enhance their flavour and juiciness. While purchasing tomato ketchup, purchase only organic ketchup to avoid unwanted pesticides residue and other contaminants. Overripe tomatoes are easily perishable and should be ideally stored in the refrigerator.
The high acidic content of the tomato is the prime reason that tomatoes are re-canned more than any other fruit or vegetable. Canned tomatoes come in many varieties like whole, chopped, crushed, and pureed and sauce like. Unopened canned tomatoes can be consumed within 6 months while opened tomatoes should be consumed within a week.
You can also freeze the tomatoes if you have excess of it. Freezing will not alter the flavour or texture of the tomatoes. All you need to do is wash it thoroughly and leave it to dry. Place the tomatoes on a zip lock pouch and suck out the air with a straw. When required, remove from the bag and thaw to remove the skin.
There is no dearth of uses of this versatile ‘vegetable’. Tomatoes are used extensively in cooking and are a staple in our Indian cuisine. Tomatoes are mixed with other ingredients to enhance the flavour of the dish. Green tomatoes are used to prepare chutneys and pickles in our cuisine.
Tomato juice is gaining immense popularity as a popular health drink. Opt for organic tomato juice as it contains 3 times more lycopene than the regular ones.
Regular tomatoes, mainly cherry tomatoes are used in the preparation of salads and sandwiches.
You can also stew tomatoes to prepare tomato soup, sauce, and other baked dishes. Homemade tomato sauce is way better that those available in the market.
Tomato Nutrition facts (USDA):
Percentage of RDA
|Total Fat||0.2 g||0.7%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.2 g||3%|
|Vitamin A||833 IU||28%|
|Vitamin C||13 mg||21.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.54 mg||4%|
|Vitamin K||7.9 µg||6.5%|
According to USDA reports, this vegetable contains all the necessary nutrients for a human body.
- It provides almost 20 percent of the vitamin intake necessary per serving.
- Its potassium rich content gives about 237 mg of potassium which is useful for controlling heart rate and cell damage.
- The vitamins such as Vitamin A, flavonoid B complex, thiamine, folates, niacin etc. are also present in tomatoes.
- Other basic nutrients include 4 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, 18 calories and 0 grams of saturated fat.
Include this wonder vegetable in dishes, sauces, pickles, puree’s etc. to avail its benefits and fulfil your body’s nutrient intake. Tomatoes are easily available in your local market, so go grab one right away. It is but obvious by now that the tomato health benefits are numerous!