In general, 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. However, 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.
Are Tomatoes the most Popular Fruits?
All in all, the greatest annual fruit harvest in the world occurs in Asia. On the other hand, China alone produces some 275 million metric tons of fruit annually.
Apart from tomatoes, the most popular fruit varieties are bananas, and apples, followed by grapes and oranges.
Some of the fruits other than tomatoes that are mostly consumed in the world include;
- Berries, etc.
Where are Tomatoes commonly grown?
For instance, the climatic conditions in the Mediterranean basin favor tomato cultivation, where it is traditionally produced as an open-field plant.
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.
Indeterminate tomato plants are typically perennials in their native habitat but are cultivated as annuals. Determinate, or bush, plants are annuals that stop growing at a certain height and produce a crop all at once.
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.
For your information, the major viruses affiliated to tomatoes endemic to the Mediterranean basin are described in detailed chapters.
What is the best way to Eat Tomatoes?
If you’re going to eat fresh tomatoes, make sure to opt for the brightest red ones when shopping as 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. Storing them in the fridge can ruin their flavor.
Cooking the tomatoes will also help release the lycopene and serving them with a splash of olive oil will help your body to absorb this more easily.
Here are the nutrients in a small (100-gram) raw tomato:
- 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 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.
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.
Below are the general health benefits of eating tomatoes.
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 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.
2. Tomatoes Promote 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 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 Support
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.
Studies show that this fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns.
Folate is also useful for pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in the baby.
4. Tomatoes Produce 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, including 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 filled with vitamins such as Vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.
The number of vitamins found in a tomato can vary greatly between plants, but the average medium-size tomato should prive 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 – which are known to cause cancer.
Additionally, the vitamins in tomatoes are thought to help maintain healthy blood pressure. As well as, support heart health, normal bowel movements (i.e. prevent constipation), protect the eyes and promote good eye health.
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.
Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber, such as tomatoes, may help hydration and support normal bowel movements. Tomatoes are often described as a laxative fruit.
More research is needed to confirm the laxative qualities of tomatoes.
What are the Risks of eating Tomatoes?
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 and have high water content.
While tomatoes have many benefits, eating too many of them could cause you some problems. Such as;
1. Acid Reflux
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 is recommended that those who suffer from digestive stress or have gastroesophageal reflux disease shouldn’t eat too many tomatoes.
2. Kidney Stones
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.
4. Salmonella Infection
Surprisingly, Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces.
Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food. With this in mind, it is recommended that before eating, you wash them thoroughly.
If those weren’t enough to put you off, eating too many tomatoes can also give you diarrhea – if you are intolerant to them.
What are Tomato Viruses?
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, according to research conducted by the RHS Organization in the UK. In particular, causing a wide variety of mosaic patterns and distortions to the leaves.
Additionally, tomatoes also showcase stunted growth and marbling patterns on the fruit, whenever the plants are growing from late winter until early autumn.
- 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,
- and a few minor tomato viruses as well.
For more details and information on how these viruses are transmitted, see the Biology section provided here.
What are the Benefits of eating fruits daily?
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 health and maintenance of your body.
Fruits benefit to your general health & wellness is limitless. Not to mention that the 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.
Equally important, the Potassium in fruits may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss as you age. And also, the Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells.
Learn and understand more about the general fruit’s benefit to your health and wellness.
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.
As can be seen, fresh tomatoes are 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. Therefore, by combining other sourced minerals and bodybuilding components, it all improves your life for good.
Therefore, eating fruits alone might be a good idea, but it is not superior to your general dietary demands.
My hope is that by now, through the above-revised guide, you have an idea as to why Tomatoes are important. Especially, for our general Health & Physical Fitness.
But, if you think that there is something I might have left out, or have additional contributions, please share in the comments box. Or even, in that case, Contact Us.
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