While tomatoes can’t quite be consumed as a replacement for lycopene capsules, that great antioxidant does feature prominently when you start digging into the health benefits of tomatoes!
But let’s not put the cart before the horse: more about lycopene supplements later…
Tomatoes look nice, taste great and are good for you. Small wonder tomatoes are second only to the potato in terms of the top vegetable consumed in the world. (Just to confuse things a bit: the tomato is actually biologically classified as a fruit, but generally treated as a vegetable!)
So what are the claimed health benefits of tomatoes?
Good dose of vitamins:
The nutrients tomatoes contain include a good dose of vitamin A and C. A medium sized tomato can hold up to 40% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C, and 20% of the RDA of vitamin A. A tomato’s vitamin C content increases during the ripening process.
Great for weight loss:
Raw tomatoes – along with other raw vegetables such as carrots, turnips, celery – are great for weight loss, because they stay in the stomach longer and therefore help keep our cravings in check.
And speaking of weight loss, tomatoes are excellent for health-conscious living, as they are sweet but at the same time low in calories!
Helps digestion along:
Tomatoes in green salad along with your main meal helps with the absorption of iron through the stomach lining, a process which is enhanced by an acidic environment. So don’t think for a moment that tomatoes in salad are there just for the looks!
Rich in antioxidants:
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and lycopene. And what’s more, lycopene is the most potent antioxidant of any common carotenoid. Consuming tomatoes therefore helps to balance out free radicals that we are exposed to from sources such as cigarette smoke and other pollutants, as well as from sugar in our diet, and exposure to sunlight.
In addition to these antioxidants, tomatoes contain a number of other compounds which are currently being studied for possible health benefits, such as anti-thrombotic action, and improvements to the vascular system.
Other claimed health benefits of tomatoes:
Tomatoes are credited with many other benefits which may not be scientifically proven (as yet!), but accepted by many tomato enthusiasts around the world. Consuming tomatoes is said to help with eye disorders, night blindness, infection of the urinary tract, liver disorders, jaundice, indigestion, morning sickness, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, and diabetes.
Please note: This article about the health benefits of tomatoes is not intended as professional health or nutritional advice, so before you rush out to buy lycopene supplements please consult with the relevant professional!