ISLAMABAD – Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a red carotenoid pigment and phytonutrient that is also found in watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, and papaya.
Tomato, a pulpy nutritious fruit commonly eaten as a vegetable, is another wonderful gift of the Mayans. This humble vegetable of Central America has seized the attention of millions of health seekers for its incredible phyto-chemical properties. Interestingly, it has more health-benefiting compounds than that of an apple.
Some of the benefits of Tomatoes are as below :
Care for your heart
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, which, like lycopene, is linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. Most of the vitamin C is concentrated in the jelly-like substance that encases the seeds. Tomatoes are also high in salicylates, which have an anti-clotting effect on the blood, and may be partially responsible for tomatoes’ protective effect against heart disease. Many recipes advise removing the seeds to prevent a bitter flavour. But to conserve nutrients, use plum tomatoes, which have less-bitter seeds.
Help control asthma
A new Australian study found that adequate intake of lycopene and vitamin A helped reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms.
Ward off Cancer
Numerous studies have concluded that the more tomatoes people eat the lower their risks of certain cancers, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers. A substance called lycopene, which is responsible for tomatoes red color, is thought to be the reason for this cancer protective effect. Processed tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones. The process of cooking breaks down the cell walls, helping to release the lycopene. Eating tomatoeswith a little bit of fat, such as olive oil, helps lycopene to be better absorbed by the body.
Prevent DNA Damage
Tomatoes are high in important antioxidants such as vitamin C and Vitamin A. These vitamins work to fend of DNA damage from free radicals. Consequently, tomatoes may help to ward off age related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes.
Protect Against Thrombosis
Another study showed that drinking 8 ounces of tomato juice daily reduced platelet aggregation significantly, among study subjects. Those drinking a placebo showed no benefit. It’s important to drink low-sodium tomato juice if you are trying to protect against thrombosis (blood clots in the blood vessel) , as high sodium levels can cause negative effects for this type of disease.
Ward off Inflammation
A double blind study found that drinking a glass of tomato juice a day can reduce blood levels of TNF-alpha by 34 percent. TNF-alpha causes inflammation. High levels have been found in individuals with most chronic,degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
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