Quite often the most nutritious foods come unpackaged and processed, in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Whether it’s salsa, tomato soup or bruschetta…let’s take a look at the wonderful nutritional assets of the everyday tomato.
1. Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer and Prostate Enlargement
Tomatoes contain lycopene which gives them their red colour. Higher levels of lycopene have been linked with lower levels of prostate cancer (particularly so with aggressive forms of prostate cancer.) Lycopene has also been shown in studies to inhibit prostate enlargement.
2. Helpful for Bone Density in Post-Menopausal Women
A lesser known fact about lycopene found in tomatoes is that research suggests it is helpful to maintain bone density in women. A longitudinal study (over 17 years) with post- menopausal women demonstrated a protective effect of high lycopene plasma levels (equivalence to ~12 mg/d lycopene consumption) from hip fractures.
3. Maintains Health at a Cellular Level
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants helping fight free- radical damage to cells, associated with premature ageing and increased risk of cancer.
4. Good For Your Eyes
Tomatoes are a rich source of lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene. These are powerful antioxidants shown to protect eyes against light-induced damage, the development of cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study recently found that people with high dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, both present in tomatoes, had a 35 percent reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Folic acid is in almost every pre-natal vitamin supplement as it is known to be essential for the developing baby and specifically, to reduce the risk of neural-tube defect. Tomatoes are a great source of the natural form folic acid, known as folate. It is good practice to not rely solely on supplements for nutrients but to get them from a range of natural sources too.