Mother Earth Living

Natural Health

Better living through nature

4 Health Benefits of Tomatoes

7/18/2012 3:39:00 PM

Tags: natural health, health, heart health, bone health, cancer, tomatoes, antioxidants, lycopene, phytonutrients, heart disease, cholesterol, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, oxidative stress, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer

Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden plants, and for good reason—nothing beats the taste of a fresh-off-the-vine home-grown tomato. While you’re enjoying the succulent flavor of that fresh picked (or home canned!) tomato, consider this fruit’s other many attributes, starting with its many health benefits. Tomatoes might be packed with good taste, but they’re also brimming with antioxidants and offer measures of protection for our bodies. So whether you’re dicing them up for summer salads, preserving them for later, or enjoying the taste of home-canned tomatoes this winter, consider these many health benefits of tomatoes.   

heirloom tomatoes 
Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Antioxidants 

Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C and manganese, but also important phytonutrients like flavonones, flavonols, hydroxycinnamic acids, glycosides and carotenoids (including beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, which gives the tomatoes their red coloring). Just one serving of tomatoes or tomato products a day can help protect your cells from damage. A recent study from the University of Barcelona suggests that organically grown tomatoes contain more antioxidants, so be sure to either grow or buy organic tomatoes.

Heart Health 

Regular consumption of tomatoes can also promote a healthy heart and help reduce risk of heart disease. Lycopene has been shown to help manage the level of fat in our blood and lower cholesterol levels, and tomato extracts have shown in studies to have anti-platelet properties, which keeps platelet cells in the blood from clumping together, a condition that often precedes atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries often associated with heart disease.

Bone Health 

Another surprising health benefit of tomatoes is its ability to promote healthy bones. In a four-week study of postmenopausal women, researchers discovered that women who had lycopene removed from their diets experienced changes in bone tissue and oxidative stress to the bones that put them at risk for osteoporosis. The study’s researchers argued that lycopene-containing foods, especially tomatoes, are critical to the diet and may play a previously un-thought of important role in maintaining good bone health.

Anti-Cancer Benefits 

Thanks to its treasure trove of antioxidants, tomatoes offer a lot of protection from various types of cancer. Research shows that regular consumption of tomatoes can definitely lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. This ability is due in part to alpha-tomatine, a phytonutrient found in tomatoes that alters the activity of developing prostate cancer cells and triggers the death of fully formed cancer cells. Research also shows a strong connection between tomatoes and reduced risk of pancreatic and breast cancer.

Tomato Recipes

There are countless ways in which to enjoy tomatoes! Here are a few of our favorite tomato recipes.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup
Canned Whole Tomatoes
Avocado, Tomato and Red Onion Salad
Polenta Fries with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread
Chickpea and Tomato Curry  


Susan Melgren is the Web Editor of Mother Earth Living. Find her on .


Related Content

Victoria’s Tomato Soup Recipe

This tomato soup recipe packed with Italian tomatoes is perfect any time of the year.

Love Your Basil: Real Texas Tomato Jalapeño Pie with Lettuce Leaf Basil

Try this Valentine's Day-inspired spicy basil pie recipe for a heart-healthy treat.

Sesame Teriyaki Stir Fry for Two

Natural Home assistant editor Kim Wallace tests out a new, USDA organic sesame teriyaki sauce from O...

Natural Shampoo: Yes To Tomatoes Tempting Tomato Volumizing Shampoo

Natural Home assistant editor Kim Wallace reviews another natural shampoo in her natural shampoo ser...

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 50%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.