Tomatoes Offer Heart Benefits

Tomatoes are a galvanizing fruit. Some people hate them; others love them. People might pick them off a sandwich or find them repulsive as a drink, but most are okay with them in sauces. They offer great benefits for health. They can aid better skin, the urinary tract, digestive health, blood sugar levels and eye health. More and more research is showing that they can also help the heart. They aid blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Tomatoes are filled with vitamins and antioxidants despite being quite low in calories. The compound lycopene in tomatoes helps lower both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. Per calorie, tomatoes are one of the highest sources of lycopene. They have almost 34 milligrams of lycopene per 200 calories. That’s more than double the content of guavas — the next highest — per calorie.

We love their versatility; you can throw tomatoes into so many different dishes or eat them just as they come — raw and alone. With so many options, it’s easy to work them into your regular diet — even if you aren’t a huge fan. Many people avoid raw tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes lowers their vitamin C levels. However, cooking the fruit can actually boost its heart-healthy properties. Heat makes lycopene more absorbable for your body. This dispels the popular myth that all veggies are better for you when they are eaten raw.

When cooking with canned tomatoes, tomato sauces or pastes, look for products that are low in sugar and have very few additives — the less adulterated, the better. Oils, salt and sugar can make the fruit less beneficial overall. If possible, cook them at home when using them in recipes. Tomatoes are high in potassium that can lower blood pressure as it helps remove salt from the body.

One of the things we like most about tomatoes is that they are usually very inexpensive in the supermarket and incredibly easy to grow yourself. If you plant tomato seeds, be prepared for them to grow like a weed. They are a very hearty plant. Unlike planting many other fruit or vegetable seeds, they start producing fruit in a very short amount of time.

Hopefully, if you aren’t a tomato fan, all this information has convinced you to try them again. Taste buds don’t really change every seven years — despite the urban legend. Taste buds change every two weeks. But your brain also changes over time. Flavors we previously didn’t like may become a favorite. So, revisit tomatoes and start enjoying them now!
January 03, 2020

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