3 reasons to include tomatoes in your diet

Tomatoes are more than just a delicious ingredient full of colour and flavour. They bring with them numerous heart and body health benefits. From supporting the immune system to protecting the heart and skin, tomatoes are a key food in a balanced diet. In this article, we’ll talk about all these incredible benefits tomatoes bring to your health.

What kind of nutrients do tomatoes contain?

A tomato of about 100 grams contains:

  • Calories: 18
  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Sugars: 2.6 g
  • Fibre: 1.2 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.2 g

In addition to macronutrients, tomatoes also contain micronutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C – beneficial for the immune system and collagen production in your body. One tomato can give you about 28% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C
  • Potassium – essential nutrient in maintaining heart rate and lowering blood pressure
  • Vitamin K – vitamin that helps blood clotting and prevents bone fractures
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) – important in cellular health

Lycopene

Another essential component in tomatoes is lycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid that protects cells and DNA in the body from other compounds called free radicals. Lycopene has powerful antioxidant properties and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by combating oxidative stress and inflammation. It has also been found that regular consumption of lycopene can help lower blood pressure and improve endothelial function, which is essential for blood vessel health.

What may seem novel is that the lycopene in tomatoes is better absorbed by the body when they are cooked or heat-processed. So while raw tomatoes are healthy, processed tomatoes, such as tomato paste or tomato sauces, may offer more cardiovascular health benefits. This is because cooking releases lycopene from the cell structure of tomatoes, making it easier for the body to assimilate.

Tomatoes are good for your health in every form

Tomatoes – health benefits

Thanks to their vitamins and antioxidant properties, tomatoes bring enormous health benefits. Here’s what they are:

Tomatoes and cardiovascular disease

If you add tomatoes to your daily diet, you can enjoy many beneficial effects on your heart health. They can help you prevent cardiovascular disease by controlling the most important risk factors.

For starters, studies show that a high consumption of tomatoes (more than 110 g per day) helps lower high blood pressure by up to 36%.

The lycopene in tomatoes also helps lower LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. Moreover, it protects against inflammation and oxidative stress on cells in the body.

Low levels of lycopene and beta-carotene were also linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in a study of 1031 men aged 46-65.

Tomatoes and cancer prevention

Some studies have shown that regular consumption of tomatoes may also help prevent certain types of cancer, such as lung, stomach and prostate cancer. It is mainly thought that the lycopene in tomatoes is responsible for this effect, but more studies in this area are needed to draw firm conclusions.

Tomatoes and a healthy complexion

As we can see, many studies support the idea that tomatoes can help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In addition to these effects, tomatoes are also considered helpful in skin health. Some studies show that lycopene in tomatoes protects the skin against sunburn, which can cause skin cancer.

Tomatoes and the Mediterranean diet

Tomatoes are a staple in the Mediterranean diet, known for their remarkable benefits for heart and body health. This balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, olive oil, fish and whole grains, is based on ingredients that are not only tasty but also offer a multitude of health benefits.

If you want to adopt a Mediterranean diet and don’t know where to start, the Dahna health app can help you with hundreds of recipes based on this diet, as tasty as they are affordable. Once you create a cardiometabolic profile, the app will generate custom menus according to your needs. What are you waiting for? Download the app or read our guide to the Mediterranean diet and start your journey to a healthy heart.

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