Basically, tomatoes are the edible, often red, berries of the plant Solanum Lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. In reality, the species originated from the parts of North, Central, and Western South of America.
Not forgetting, they were first brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. Especially, following the colonization of Mexico by the Spanish. And surprisingly, from Europe, tomatoes were first introduced to North America in the eighteenth century.
The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word tomate, from which the English word tomato derived. Because of their nutritional benefits, tomatoes and other fruits consumption have grown over the years.
Why are Tomatoes the Most Popular Fruits?
Of course, according to a report by the Global Fruit Production – Statistics & Facts, it shows that tomatoes are actually the world’s most popular fruit! Whereby, the greatest annual fruit harvest in the world occurs in Asia.
At home, everyone loves them. And in most cases, we always include them in our meals. On the other hand, China alone produces some 275 million metric tons of fruit annually. Apart from tomatoes, the other most popular fruit varieties are Bananas, and Apples, followed by Grapes and Oranges.
Worldwide, more than 675 million metric tons of fruit are produced each year. In that case, the most popular fruit in the world – the tomato being included. There are some fruits other than tomatoes that are also mostly consumed in the world.
Such fruits that are mostly consumed include Bananas, Watermelons, Apples, Grapefruits, Berries, etc. While tomatoes are fruits — botanically classified as berries — they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient or side dish.
Numerous varieties of tomato plants are widely grown in temperate climates across the world. Especially, with greenhouses allowing for the production of tomatoes throughout all seasons of the year. For instance, the climatic conditions in the Mediterranean basin favor tomato cultivation.
It’s important to realize, tomato plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height. They are vines that have a weak stem that sprawls and typically needs support. The size of the tomato varies according to the cultivar, with a range of 0.5–4 inches (1.3–10.2 cm) in width.
Consider the following:
- Indeterminate: These tomato plants are typically perennials in their native habitat but are cultivated as annuals.
- Determinate/Bush: These tomato plants are annuals that stop growing at a certain height and produce a crop all at once.
Traditionally, tomatoes are produced as an open-field plant. Overall, the consumption of fruits varies in different parts of the world. With some fruits being consumed around the world while some being restricted to certain areas because of their limited availability.
Which is the Best Way to Eat Tomatoes?
If you’re going to eat fresh tomatoes, make sure to opt for the brightest red ones and also when shopping too. Why? Simply, because these ones are more likely to have the highest amount of antioxidants.
They keep best when left at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Not to mention, storing them in the fridge can ruin their flavor. The water content of tomatoes is around 95%. The other 5% consists mainly of carbohydrates and fiber. They also have high water content.
Forthwith, to make the tomatoes count as one of your five-a-day, the NHS recommends eating one medium tomato — or seven cherry tomatoes as one portion. Furthermore, it’s completely safe to eat a portion of tomatoes every day — and as an added bonus they are low in calories.
Cooking the tomatoes will also help release the lycopene. Whilst, serving them with a splash of olive oil will help your body to absorb this more easily. A small (100-gram) raw tomato contains all the needful mineral elements.
Consider the following:
- Calories: 18
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.9 grams
- Sugar: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
Carbs: Carbs comprise 4% of raw tomatoes, which amounts to fewer than 5 grams of carbs for a medium specimen (123 grams). Simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose, make up almost 70% of the carb content.
Fiber: Tomatoes are a good source of fiber, providing about 1.5 grams per average-sized tomato. Most of the fibers (87%) in tomatoes are insoluble, in the form of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin.
What are the Benefits of Eating Tomatoes?
On one hand, Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits. Including the reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Not to mention, they are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Let’s learn more from the video below.
On the other hand, Tomatoes are a significant source of umami flavor. And then again, the tomato fruit is consumed in diverse ways, raw or cooked, in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. Below are their general health benefits.
1. Cancer Prevention
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that spread beyond their normal boundaries, often invading other parts of the body.
Observational studies have noted links between tomatoes — and tomato products — and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. While the high lycopene content is believed responsible, high-quality human research is needed to confirm the cause of these benefits.
A study in women shows that high concentrations of carotenoids — found in high amounts in tomatoes — may protect against breast cancer. You can learn more about how to prevent breast cancer in detail.
2. Heart Health
Heart disease — including heart attacks and strokes — is the world’s most common cause of death. A study in middle-aged men linked low blood levels of lycopene and beta-carotene to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Increasing evidence from clinical trials suggests that supplementing with lycopene may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Clinical studies of tomato products indicate benefits against inflammation and markers of oxidative stress.
They also show a protective effect on the inner layer of blood vessels and may decrease your risk of blood clotting.
3. Skin Health
Tomatoes are considered beneficial for skin health. Tomato-based foods rich in lycopene and other plant compounds may protect against sunburn.
According to one study, people who ingested 1.3 ounces (40 grams) of tomato paste — providing 16 mg of lycopene — with olive oil every day for 10 weeks experienced 40% fewer sunburns.
Some studies also show that this fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns. Mostly, because of it’s presence of Folate. Folate is also useful for pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in the baby.
4. Source of Lycopene
Lycopene — the most abundant carotenoid in ripened tomatoes — is particularly noteworthy when it comes to the fruit’s plant compounds. Generally, lycopene is an antioxidant that gives the fruit it’s vivid color.
Notably, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it has with its highest concentrations in the skin. Tomato products — such as ketchup, tomato juice, tomato paste, and tomato sauces — are the richest dietary sources of lycopene in the diet. Providing over 80% of dietary lycopene in Kenya.
Equally important, gram for gram, (the amount of lycopene in processed tomato products) is often much higher than in fresh tomatoes. They also contain various other plant compounds like beta-carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid.
Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment that adds color to plants and is converted into vitamin A. And also, which is good for healthy skin and our immune system at low levels. At higher levels, it can become toxic.
5. Vitamins & Supplements
Tomatoes are also rich in numerous vitamins too. Such as Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. However, the number of vitamins found in a tomato can vary greatly between plants. But, the average medium-size tomato should prive what you need.
Around 28 percent of your recommended daily dose of Vitamin C. As they are a good source of Vitamin C, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals — known to cause cancer. Additionally, the vitamins in tomatoes are thought to balance and maintain healthy blood pressure.
As well as, support heart health, and normal bowel movements (i.e. prevent constipation). They also protect the eyes and promote good eye health. And then again, the vitamins in tomato fruits help with collagen production for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
6. Blood Pressure Balance
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.
High potassium and low sodium intake are also associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from all causes. And this is where tomato fruits come in.
7. Diabetes & Constipation
Studies have shown that people with Type 1 Diabetes who consume high-fiber 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 fiber.
Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber, such as tomatoes, may help hydration and support normal bowel movements. Tomatoes are also laxative fruits. Fiber adds bulk to stool and is helpful for reducing constipation.
However, removing fiber from the diet has also demonstrated a positive impact on constipation. More research is needed to confirm the laxative qualities of tomatoes.
Some Key Tomato Recipes to Consider
Technically, you can think of this compendium of tomato recipes as your late summer to-do list. Because there are these few months of the year when the farmers market is overflowing with beautiful tomatoes. And as such, you’re going to want to take full advantage.
So, grab a couple of heavy beefsteaks, a few pints of Sungolds, and an armful of heirlooms and get ready to tomato-fly all your soups, pies, and sandwiches while you can. And don’t sleep on our fresh tomato recipes — they’re a great way to celebrate the natural sweetness of peak season specimens. Without having to heat up your kitchen.
We’re talking a no-cook tomato sauce to dress up weeknight pastas, a creamy and rich tomato Caesar, and a Vietnamese tomato salad. That’s all brightened up with plenty of lime and fish sauce. Want to make tomato season last longer? Learn how to freeze your tomatoes (here) and make your future self very, very happy.
Agreeably, tomatoes are the perfect match for the acidic, sweet, and slightly funky dressing. That tops this bright, wonderfully herbaceous salad. Well, you can see all 102 Tomato Recipes to Celebrate Summer in Style as detailed for you by the bonappetit team.
What are the Risks of Eating Tomatoes?
Before you consume any fruit, you should first know about the common viruses that attack these plants — such as Tomato Viruses in general. By doing so, you’ll not only protect your plants, but you’ll also be safe from consuming virus-infected fruits too.
Generally, many viruses affect tomatoes causing mosaic patterns on leaves, leaf distortions, stunted growth, bronzing, or marbling patterns on the fruit. In fact, more than 20 viruses affect tomatoes worldwide. This is according to research conducted by the RHS Organization in the UK.
In particular, such viruses cause a wide variety of mosaic patterns and distortions to the leaves. Additionally, tomatoes also showcase stunted growth and marbling patterns on the fruit. More so, whenever the plants are growing from late winter until early autumn.
The common Tomato Viruses include:
- The basic tomato yellow leaf curl virus
- Pepino Mosaic Virus (PepMV)
- A Tomato Torrado Virus
- tomato spotted wilt virus
- General tomato infectious chlorosis virus
- Notable, tomato chlorosis virus
- As well as a few minor tomato viruses
Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food. With this in mind, it’s good that — before you eat them, make sure you wash them thoroughly. If the virus complications aren’t enough to put you off, consider your intake.
For one thing, eating too many tomatoes can give you diarrhea — that’s if you are intolerant to them. That said, for more details on how these viruses are transmitted, see the Biology section provided here in detail.
By the same token, viral diseases are responsible for heavy yield losses and are one of the reasons that tomato production has shifted to greenhouses. So, while tomatoes have many benefits, eating too many of them could cause you some problems. Such complications include:
Tomatoes contain malic acid and citric acid and consuming too much of these could make your stomach too acidic and cause heartburn or acid reflux. Therefore, it’s good that those who suffer from digestive stress or have gastroesophageal reflux disease shouldn’t eat too many tomatoes.
Too many tomatoes can also lead to a build-up of kidney stones. This is due to the fact that the fruit is rich in calcium and oxalate. Again, when in excess, it is difficult to remove from the body and start depositing in the body, causing kidney stones to form.
Consuming too much lycopene can also be bad for you as it can result in lycopenodermia and discoloration of the skin. Lycopene is good for you as a general rule, but not in excessive amounts – experts recommend 22 mg per day and there are 27mg in two tablespoons of tomato puree.
Over the years they have also been linked to several cases of Salmonella. Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Surprisingly, Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces.
Likewise, as the growing season comes to an end and temperatures begin to fall you may find yourself with lots of immature fruit — more so, that isn’t going to ripen in time. So, how do you ripen green tomatoes to avoid loss?
How to Ripen Green Tomatoes
Before we move on, let’s say you own a Kitchen Garden. Of course, you already know how it works, and the kind of Kitchen Garden Medicinal Herbs to consider, right? And that you grow some tomatoes therein;— do you know how to grow and ripen them?
Well, according to the happydiyhome (through the link above), learning how to ripen green tomatoes is a vital part of growing the fruit. Whether you are growing small cherry tomatoes or big beef tomatoes, it is a useful skill to have.
After all, allowing the fruit to mature on the vine often results in better-tasting produce that has a deeper, richer color. However, there are a number of reasons why you may need to ripen your fruit away from the vine.
For example, being able to pick green fruit and ripen it off the vine helps to prevent your plants from becoming overcrowded. It also allows you to prevent the fruit remaining on the vine from rotting.
Likewise, it’s also a useful way to prevent waste. In short, instead of letting the crop go to waste, you should learn how to ripen green tomatoes in detail first. And even more, discover how it enables you to enjoy more of your fruit for longer.
Notably, eating fruit provides major health benefits to our general health and physical fitness. In particular, people who eat more fruits and vegetables engage in part of an overall healthy diet. Whereby, they are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
Equally important, fruits provide nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients in fruits are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. For instance, the potassium in fruit can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Learn More: Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes
Likewise, the Potassium in fruits may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss as you age. And also, Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells.
In other words, fruits are an important part of the human diet. Basically, fruits constitute a significant part of human nutrition – and are highly recommended for a healthy, vitamin-rich diet. Fresh tomatoes are also low in carbs.
The carb content consists mainly of simple sugars and insoluble fibers. Additionally, they contain vitamins and other nutrients that help keep the body healthy.
Combining them with other sourced minerals and bodybuilding components, all improve your life for good. Therefore, eating fruits alone might be a good idea, but it is not superior to your general dietary demands. You can also read and learn more about fruits benefit to your health and wellness.
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Finally, my hope is that by now, through the above-revised guide, you have an idea as to why Tomatoes are important. Especially, to our overall and general healthy lifestyle at large. But, if you think that there is something I might have left out, feel free to share it with us.
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