Tomatoes – Fruit Or Vegetable?
Tomatoes are those vegetables or fruits (they can be either) that we have known all our lives. What is amazing about this vegetable let’s say, is its diversity.
First of all I am talking about the types of tomato, from tiny cherry tomatoes, through red tomatoes and then those sort of orange tomatoes.
More recently with grafting and genetic technology we have had the introduction of huge tomatoes. Then we have all the different ways we can eat tomatoes. We can have them in dishes as a paste or a puree.
We can half cook them with bacon and eggs. Then we can have tomato in a sauce which in Australia they put avidly on everything and anything especially the traditional meat pie:-)
It seems that everywhere we go tomatoes are on the menu and the same goes for traveling overseas. What is it about this tasty usually red, fleshy vegetable? Let’s investigate its major health benefits known for centuries.
Health Benefits Of Tomato
#1. Prostrate Cancer
Men who eat several servings of tomato in some format several times a week or more reduce prostrate cancer. The credible Harvard School of Public Health analyzed 47,400 men from Southern European and Caucasian background. They had a reduced prostrate cancer incidence due to tomato consumption.
However, they could determine it was due to the Lycopene. This was previously thought to be the anti-cancer agent. Instead scientists think tomato in a paste or cooked such as in dishes including spaghetti bolognaise are the beneficial forms of tomato. It has something to do with the cooking oil that is used with the tomato that somehow releases a beneficial chemical from the tomato.
In addition due to the free radicals contained in tomatoes they are also good for guarding against all other forms of cancer. For some reason though they are especially good for warding against men’s prostrate cancer. This is a deadly cancer which is on par with breast cancer in its fatalities.
#2. Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Tomatoes have this and as you know this is essential for a healthy mind and nervous system. It is also good for a functioning digestive tract, diabetes, during pregnancy, even for the immune system, invaluable to AIDS patients. So Thiamin is a pretty essential vitamin in a diet. Thiamin also converts carbohydrates into energy, essential in our daily work and play!
#3. High Blood Pressure
Tomatoes help lower or maintain blood pressure. It also protects the body from high cholesterol and ultimately cardiovascular disease & heart attacks.
#4. Macular Disease In The Elderly
Tomatoes contain Zeathanthin and this protects you from the disease called macular degeneration. It does this by filtering out UV rays from harming the sight of the elderly!
It appears that tomatoes help maintain blood sugar levels in diabetes 1 patients and also diabetes 2 patients. This is partly due to the high fiber content that seems to assist blood sugar levels.
Studies indicate that the folic acid found in tomatoes is instrumental in reducing depression. Apparently it is the build up of a chemical called homosysteine that can block the passing of feel good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Folic acid prevents this build up occurring.
Folic acid found in tomatoes is essential for the birth of neurologically healthy babies free of brain and neural defects.
So there you have it. Tomatoes not only taste great, can be used in all sorts of ways in your food and diet but they have many wonderful health properties. They are yet another one of those super drugs given as a gift from nature to us!