1. Tomatoes can increase your body's fat burning capacity
Tomatoes stimulate the production of the amino acid carnitine which has been shown in research to speed the body’s fat-burning capacity by over 30 per cent. This in turn aids weight loss! According to a new study, just one glass a day can trim your waistline and help you drop some noticeable kilos.
2. Tomatoes help fight against cancer
Tomatoes have a substance called lycopene, the compound responsible for the red color that it has. This substance helps ward off cancer and is present abundantly in even processed tomatoes, where the cooking breaks the cell walls of the cells present in this substance. It helps ward off lung, prostate and even stomach cancer.
3. Tomatoes can make your hair shinier
Drinking tomato juice constantly improves the appearance and texture of hair, and since it is rich in vitamin k, it helps to strengthen the tufts of hair and increase its luster as well as the revitalisation of growth.
Tip: Grind the tomatoes and make a paste out of them, then apply this paste to your scalp for 20 minutes and then wash with lukewarm water.
Recipe to try: Caprese Salad
This super simple yet tasty salad comprises of just four ingredients: heirloom tomatoes, mozzerella cheese, basil leaves and caperberries. It takes only 10 minutes to make! Get the recipe here.
4. Tomatoes can make your skin glow
Don’t worry if you can’t afford expensive skin creams – stock up on tomatoes for younger-looking skin! “Once again, the age-defying ingredient is lycopene, which helps to keep skin looking fresh by protecting it from sun damage,” dietitian Melanie McGrice says.
While you can eat them in a variety of ways, cooked tomato products, such as sauce, paste and juice, have the highest amounts of lycopene. What’s more, a UK study found that people who regularly eat tomato paste have significantly higher pro-collagen levels, and this molecule helps skin retain its firmness and elasticity.
Another benefit is significant water content. “When skin cells become dehydrated they get all wrinkly, like prunes, which can make you look a lot older. The high water content in tomatoes makes them fantastic for keeping your skin hydrated and plump,” she says.
5. Tomatoes help reduce damage by cigarette smoke
Tomatoes can reduce the amount of damage done to your body by smoking cigarettes or inhaling second hand smoke. Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid that work to protect the body from carcinogens that are produced from cigarette smoke.
Recipe to try: Roasted Tomato And Anchovy Pasta
Instead of drenching your pasta in another creamy sauce, why not go for something lighter yet equally (if not more) tasty? This easy pasta dish features flavoursome roasted tomatoes and anchovies that are filled with health benefits. Get the recipe here.
6. Tomatoes can prevent kidney and gall bladder stones
They work as a disinfectant to protect the body from diarrhea and prevents the appearance of kidney stones and gall bladder stones in the long term. They also dramatically reduce the incidence of lower urinary tract symptoms.
7. Tomatoes help protect your eyes
Your eyes will thank you when you eat more tomatoes, too. High levels of vitamins A and C found in them can help to improve your normal vision and may prevent onset of night blindness and certain eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration.
“Consuming tomatoes also provides you with quite a rich supply of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to have a protective effect on eye health and can even reduce light-induced damage associated with the development of cataracts,” Melanie says. “These powerful antioxidants help to protect the retina of your eyes from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals – a process similar to a piece of metal going rusty.”
8. Tomatoes help keep bones strong
Tomatoes contain vitamin K, which is also beneficial for keeping bones healthy and strong. Lycopene, once again, plays a part in strong bones as it is known to improve the bone mass. This is especially important as you start to age and diseases like osteoporosis start to make themselves known.
Recipe to try: Soba Noodle Salad with Braised Tomatoes & Asparagus
If you love tomatoes, this dish is packed with juicy ones! The Asian-style salad contains soba noodles to make the dish more substantial, you can adjust the quantity to make it a light meal or a full one. Get the recipe here.
9. Tomatoes help strengthen your immune system
Daily consumption of tomatoes is working to increase the proportion of vitamin C in the blood, which inhibits the levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. So drinking tomato juice helps ease tension and stress.
10. Tomatoes can reduce the risk of heart disease
According to Tufts and Boston University researchers, the highest average intakes of lycopene were linked to almost a 30 per cent reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, respectively, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The unique combination of vitamins, antioxidants and fibre in tomatoes plays an essential role in protecting against heart disease.
“Antioxidants fight off free radicals while protecting cells and blood vessels against oxidation and inflammation, which can impact your overall cardiovascular risk,” Melanie says.
Studies suggest that a diet rich in tomatoes may even help to lower the risk of stroke, due to the powerful carotenoid lycopene – a pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their red, orange and yellow colouring.
Tomatoes are also high in salicylates, chemicals with natural anticoagulating benefits. “Because they’re low in salt and high in water, they can even have a positive effect on your blood pressure, which is essential for maintaining a healthy heart,” Melanie explains.
“They’re also a fantastic source of fibre, which helps to bind fats in the digestive system and assists in cleaning out your bowel. This helps to eliminate excess fats that would otherwise continue to circulate in the bloodstream, increasing your risk of heart disease.”
11. Tomatoes can prevent Type 2 diabetes
Tomatoes are known to have a mineral called chromium. And did you know that chromium works in keeping blood sugar levels in check?
“While the evidence is limited, research suggests that the carotenoids found in tomatoes may even help to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,” Melanie explains.
The botanical fruit also contains a considerable amount of chromium, which studies suggest can help to regulate blood sugar levels and decrease insulin needs in people with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that tomatoes are vegetables, but they’re actually classified as a fruit because they have seeds, just like cucumbers,” Melanie says. So for those who have diabetes, or the history of it in the family, it’s a good fruit to include in your diet.
12. Tomatoes can ward off depression
Boosting your emotional health has never been tastier. “Studies show eating foods from the Mediterranean diet – like tomatoes – can have a positive effect on depression and mental health,” Melanie says. The point of the diet is to get a healthy amount of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and omega-3 fats without consuming a lot of sugar or saturated fats. “It’s essentially about eating real food, as opposed to having processed foods,” she says.
Higher levels of lycopene help to boost mood by preventing the formation of inflammatory compounds associated with depression. “And because tomatoes are so high in fibre, they’re excellent for your gut microbiome, which can have a direct impact on your mental health,” Melanie adds.
Plus, they’re packed with natural mood-enhancers, such as folate and magnesium, as well as iron and vitamin B6, which help to increase your body’s levels of feelgood hormones.
Recipe to try: Tomato, Ham & Haloumi Rice Salad
Add tomatoes to your lunch plan with this delicious, colourful and filling salad! You can easily prep this ahead of time, just drizzle the dressing over when it’s time to eat. Get the recipe here.