Tomatoes are considered a staple in the Aussie diet. Not only are they full of flavour, but they are super versatile and rich in antioxidants. No matter how you like them, (fresh, juiced, sauce, paste, etc.), you will often find tomatoes in any house (or in the garden), and strangely enough, even the fussiest eater will enjoy tomatoes in one form or another.
Tomatoes are a treasure trove when it comes to antioxidants. Not only are they rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, but the powerhouses contain a variety of phytonutrients including flavones, flavonols, hydroxycinnamic acids, carotenoids, glycosides and fatty acid derivative, each providing their own health benefit. Tomatoes are loaded with many, many health benefits. Keep reading to see why you should ensure this is added into your food routine.
- Tomatoes are good for your skin
Tomatoes, or more specifically, lycopene, ranks high in the preparation of high-end anti-ageing creams and facial cleaners. Daily consumption of these beauties is believed to help protect your skin against harmful UV, and topical application of tomato juice is thought to help soothe severe sunburn. (** do not use tomatoes as your sole protector from UV rays, use in conjunction with appropriate protection).
- Tomatoes helps to maintain healthy strong eyes
Rich in vitamin A, tomatoes can aid in improving vision, preventing night-blindness and delaying macular degeneration. A lot of vision problems occur as a result of too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that is specific to the eyes and their resultant health and function.
- Tomatoes are good for the heart
The lycopene in tomatoes has been shown to be effective in reducing LDL cholesterol by about 10%, making it comparable to the effect of low doses of statins in patients with slightly elevated cholesterol levels(1). Keeping your cholesterol low is another reason to keep these delicious fruit in your routine.
- Tomatoes are great for blood pressure
More specifically, tomatoes have been shown to be beneficial at lowering systolic blood pressure(2). Again, the superstar lycopene is believed to be the reason for this health benefit.
- Tomatoes reduce systemic inflammation
Tomatoes contain such potent antioxidants that their benefits have been found to include anti-inflammatory benefits. Lycopene has been shown to prevent the production of inflammatory cytokines in obese females(3), and as such, reduce systemic inflammation. Not only does this reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but it may also improve weight loss.
Heating tomatoes with some olive oil has been shown to significantly increase the lycopene concentration and absorption(4, 5). Don’t forget to heat your tomatoes with some olive oil to boost the lycopene content!
Tomatoes are coming into season soon. Check out our October recipe to see a great way of incorporating fresh tomatoes into your diet.
- Ried K, Fakler P. Protective effect of lycopene on serum cholesterol and blood pressure: Meta-analyses of intervention trials. Maturitas. 2011;68(4):299-310.
- Li X, Xu J. Lycopene supplement and blood pressure: an updated meta-analysis of intervention trials. Nutrients. 2013;5(9):3696-712.
- Ghavipour M, Saedisomeolia A, Djalali M, Sotoudeh G, Eshraghyan MR, Moghadam AM, et al. Tomato juice consumption reduces systemic inflammation in overweight and obese females. The British journal of nutrition. 2013;109(11):2031-5.
- Perdomo F, Cabrera Franquiz F, Cabrera J, Serra-Majem L. [Influence of cooking procedure on the bioavailability of lycopene in tomatoes]. Nutricion hospitalaria. 2012;27(5):1542-6.
- Fielding JM, Rowley KG, Cooper P, K OD. Increases in plasma lycopene concentration after consumption of tomatoes cooked with olive oil. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2005;14(2):131-6.