Tomatoes come from Mexico and Central America and have been cultivated since the Aztecs and Incas. Later, tomatoes are transferred to Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. French call tomatoes “love” apple and Germans call this vegetable “heavenly” apple.
In the past tomatoes were used as ornamental plant and it was viewed with doubt, because it was thought to be poisonous. In the second half of the 19th century was discovered that tomatoes have nutrition value and since then they are used as food. People noticed almost immediately that tomato contributes to improving health, leading up to test its chemical composition.
The health benefits of tomatoes -- a powerful natural anticancer
Recently conducted research studies have shown that people who regularly consume tomato in their diet (solanum lycopersicum) have a lower risk of getting cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other chronic diseases.
Tomato is a highly valuable commodity that contains very little fat, calories and cholesterol. It is also rich in vitamins A and C, beta carotene and minerals. A mid-sized fresh tomato has only 25 calories and is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial and medicinal ingredients.
Tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant from the group of carotenoids. The human body cannot synthesize carotenoids, so they can only enter the body through foods rich in lycopene. Absorption of lycopene is greater and better when consumed tomato products than when consumed through fresh tomato. It is assumed that during cooking, tomatoes release the lycopene and thus it is easier to absorb.
Lycopene is a proven antioxidant that helps remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that cause cancer and other serious diseases. Therefore, tomatoes play a key role in the prevention and treatment of many serious diseases.
Researchers and scientifically confirmed the protective role of lycopene in the etiology of prostate cancer and reduce the risk for cancer of the stomach, breast and skin. Men who consume 10 tomatoes per week are 45% less likely to suffer from prostate cancer.
Lycopene may also slow down the growth and spread of prostate cancer in people who already are suffering from the disease.
Lycopene is found in watermelon, red grapefruit, guava, papaya, but it is most concentrated in the skin of tomatoes. Daily recommended intake of lycopene is 5-10 mg.
Tomatoes contain organic compounds and terpene (terpenoidi) that help in blocking tumor. Other foods with high concentration of terpene are herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil and mint.
Tomatoes improve bowel, cardiovascular system, helps in diabetes, inflammation of the airways, protects the skin from harmful UV sun rays, strengthens immunity, protects against cancer…
Tomatoes improve bowel. It is a natural tool for easier bowel movements. Also has benefit in people suffering from constipation and hemorrhoids.
Tomatoes have also beneficial effect on high blood pressure and stimulating pancreatic function and improving circulation in the body. Tomato is a natural remedy for anemia, and regulation of diabetes.
Since tomato is rich in vitamin C, it helps in prevention of asthma attacks, respiratory infections, watery eyes and other allergic symptoms.
Tomatoes are recommended for strengthening the immune system, but also as a diet food because it is nutritious and low in calories.
Tomatoes have high content of lycopene and beta carotene, protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, reducing the activity of free radicals, which occur due to emission of UV rays i.e. when sunbathing. Cooked tomato juice has a high amount of lycopene that protects when burned. Scientists emphasize that the tomato sauce is best to combine with olive oil, because it helps the absorption of antioxidants. Experts are worried that this protection lasts all day causing protection of body from all the cumulative effects of the sun.
Pieces of fresh tomatoes can be used as compresses to treat ulcers, pimples on the skin and some skin diseases.
Tomatoes are used in numerous ways. Fresh slices or sliced in salads or mixed -- they are always delicious. Their taste is unique in nature and enhances the taste of any food that is cooked. Tomatoes are also used in the form of juice, soup, puree, sauce and ketchup.