Health Benefits of the Tomato-“Love Apple”

February, often celebrated as the month of love, offers the perfect opportunity to explore the myriad benefits of one of nature’s most love-associated foods – the tomato. Dubbed the “tomato d’Amour” or “love apple” by the French, thanks to its supposed aphrodisiac qualities, the tomato is indeed a fruit to fall in love with, regardless of its romantic legends.

Highlighted in a Medical News Today article, the tomato is not just a culinary delight but a nutrient-dense superfood. It’s packed with qualities that promote healthy skin, assist in weight loss, and support heart health, making it a versatile ally in your wellness journey.

Tomatoes come in various types and sizes, each with its unique way of preparation and distinct health benefits. Including a diet rich in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes correlates with numerous health advantages. It enhances skin and hair health, boosts energy levels, aids in weight management, and significantly reduces the risk of obesity and overall mortality. So, this February, let’s celebrate love not just in the traditional sense, but by embracing the wholesome goodness of tomatoes.

Many benefits of the Tomato

Possible health benefits of tomatoes

1) Cancer

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. With these components, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals, which are known to cause cancer.

2) Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake helps to maintain healthful blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important due to its widening effects on the arteries.

3) Heart health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and choline content in tomatoes all support heart health.

4) Diabetes

Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fibre diets have lower blood glucose levels, while people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams (g) of fibre.

5) Constipation

Eating foods high in water content and fibre, such as tomatoes, may help hydration and support normal bowel movements. Tomatoes are often described as a laxative fruit.

6) Eye health

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene. These powerful antioxidants have been shown to protect the eyes against light-induced damage, the development of cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

7) Skin

Collagen is an essential component of the skin, hair, nails, and connective tissue. The production of collagen in the body is reliant on vitamin C.

8) Pregnancy

Adequate folate intake is essential before and during pregnancy to protect against infant neural tube defects. While pregnant women are recommended to take a folic acid supplement, tomatoes are a great source of naturally occurring folate.

Tomato Food Ideas

What is the Nutritional Content?

One cup of chopped or sliced raw tomatoes contains:

32 calories(kcal)
14 g of water
58 g of protein
2 g of fibre
8 g of carbohydrate
0 g cholesterol

Tomatoes also have a wealth of vitamin and mineral content, including:

18 mg of calcium
427 mg of potassium
43 mg of phosphorus
7 mg of vitamin C
1499 international units (IU) of vitamin A

Tomatoes also contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including:

alpha-lipoic acid
folic acid

The cooking of tomatoes appears to increase the availability of key nutrients, such as the carotenoids lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Stewed tomatoes provide more lutein and zeaxanthin than sun-dried tomatoes and raw cherry tomatoes.

Delicious Tomato Filled Wrap

Incorporating tomatoes into your diet is healthy and can add a burst of flavour and colour to your meals. Here are some expanded tips for including tomatoes in your everyday diet:

1. Tomato-Enhanced Sandwiches and Wraps: Elevate your sandwiches and wraps by adding thin slices of ripe tomatoes. They add a juicy crunch and a healthy dose of vitamins. For a gourmet touch, try different varieties like an heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, each adding its unique flavour.

2. Marinara Sauce with a Tomato Twist: When preparing pasta, enrich your marinara sauce by adding diced, low-sodium canned tomatoes. This intensifies the tomato flavour and adds a more robust texture to your sauce. Consider roasting the tomatoes before adding them to the sauce for an even richer taste.

3. Tomato-Based Soups: Utilize canned, diced, or stewed tomatoes as a base for soups. These tomatoes can add depth and richness to your broth, making it more flavorful and hearty. For a Mediterranean twist, blend the tomatoes to create a smooth, creamy texture.

4. Avocado and Tomato Toast: Start your day with a healthy and satisfying piece of toast topped with creamy avocado slices and fresh tomato. This simple yet delicious combination provides a good balance of healthy fats and nutrients. Add a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil to enhance the flavours.

5. Homemade Quick Salsa: Make a zesty salsa by combining diced tomatoes, onions, and optional jalapeños with freshly squeezed lime juice. This fresh salsa can be used as a topping for grilled meats or tacos or as a dip with tortilla chips. The lime juice not only adds a tangy flavour but also helps bring out the tomatoes’ vibrant taste.

6. Tomato in Breakfast Omelettes or Scrambles: Brighten your breakfast by adding diced fresh tomatoes to omelettes or scrambled eggs. The tomatoes add a refreshing twist and can be combined with other ingredients like spinach, cheese, or mushrooms for a more fulfilling meal.

7. Caprese Salad with a Drizzle: Create a simple yet elegant Caprese salad by layering freshly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and chopped basil for a classic Italian flavour. This dish is perfect as a starter or a light lunch.

8. Cocktail Tomatoes with Hummus Dip: Pair bite-sized cocktail tomatoes with a creamy hummus dip for a quick and nutritious snack. This combination offers a balance of juicy freshness and rich, savoury flavour. To enhance the experience, sprinkle some herbs like dill or parsley on the tomatoes.

Remember, the key to enjoying tomatoes is freshness and variety. Experiment with different types of tomatoes and preparation methods to keep your meals exciting and healthy.