Whether they’re sliced, diced, crushed, puréed, or plucked straight out of a sunny garden, one thing is clear about tomatoes: they are a superfood. How super? It turns out these delicious little red fruits offer many surprising health benefits.
Here is a list of five great reasons to include more tomatoes in your diet.
Tomatoes Fight Cancer
Tomatoes are naturally full of antioxidants. These powerful substances provide a number of health benefits, the most important being their ability to fight off free radicals that can form in the body and cause cancer.
Speaking more specifically, studies have shown that men who consume plenty of beta-carotene and lycopene – both of which are found in abundance in tomatoes – are far less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life. What’s more, the earlier men begin eating tomato-based foods, the better their chances are of avoiding prostate cancer altogether.
Tomatoes Are Healthy For Mom and Baby
Tomatoes are packed with folic acid which is extremely important for women who are pregnant, or who intend to become pregnant in the future. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects in a developing fetus.
“Neural tube defects” is a broad term encompassing several devastating pregnancy complications such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Women who take in adequate amounts of folic acid before and during their pregnancy are far less likely to encounter these complications.
In addition, folic acid has also been shown to help fight depression. By preventing a buildup of too much homocysteine in your system, folic acid can help encourage healthy blood flow to the brain. Postpartum depression is a very real condition, but women with adequate folic acid levels are less likely to develop it.
Tomatoes Are Good For Your Eyes
You probably remember your parents urging you to eat carrots when you were younger because they were good for your eyes. That’s true, but tomatoes should get to share that spotlight as well.
Tomatoes, like carrots, are rich in beta-carotene and are also a good source of lycopene and lutein, all of which are antioxidants. These have been shown to help prevent eye disorders such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration by protecting the eyes from harmful light rays which can contribute to these conditions over time.
Tomatoes Are Great For Your Skin
A diet rich in tomatoes is a diet rich in vitamin C!
Want younger-looking, more resilient skin? Try eating more tomatoes. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C. Your body cannot synthesize collagen which is the main structural protein in your skin without adequate levels of vitamin C in your system. Eating tomatoes can help to improve your skin’s elasticity, boost its ability to retain essential moisture and protect it against UV rays.
Tomatoes Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
If you have hypertension, a few of your favorite foods may be off the menu, but the good news is that tomatoes can stay!
Tomatoes are high in potassium which can aid vasodilation. This means that eating tomatoes can actually improve overall blood flow and reduce blood pressure. While it’s true that lowering salt intake is important in controlling high blood pressure, it’s just as important to get enough potassium in your diet.
With all this in mind, feel free to load up on tomatoes during your next trip to the salad bar. You’ll be doing your whole body a favor!