Tomatoes provide many health benefits

Tomatoes are not only sweet, delicious and a wonderful addition to many entrees, they are a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A, C and K.

Is a tomato considered a vegetable or a fruit? Scientifically speaking, it’s considered a fruit because the body of the tomato contains seeds. However, if you’re a history buff, you’ll find information that shows the U.S. Supreme Court declared the tomato a vegetable in 1893. Whatever you think they are, one thing is for sure: tomatoes are sweet, juicy, delicious and good for you!

One serving of tomatoes provides a good source of vitamin A, C, K and potassium. Tomatoes are also a good source of fiber, containing two grams in each serving, which is seven percent of the daily recommended amount. The nutrients found in tomatoes have been shown to provide the following health benefits:

  • Healthy skin – the beta-carotene and lycopene found in tomatoes helps protect the skin against damage and makes skin less sensitive to UV damage.
  • Strong bones – the vitamin K, calcium and lycopene in tomatoes is good for strengthening and repairing bones as well as improving bone mass.
  • Fights cancer – lycopene helps prevent several cancers and the antioxidants in tomatoes can reduce cell damage.
  • Regulates blood sugar – tomatoes contain chromium which helps your blood sugar stay in balance and helps reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • Improves vision – vitamin A found in tomatoes can improve vision, help prevent night blindness and may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Prevents kidney stones and gallstones – studies have shown that eating tomatoes may lessen the risk of developing kidney stones and gallstones.
  • Prevents heart disease – the potassium and vitamin B in tomatoes helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels which in turn can assist in the prevention of strokes, heart attacks and other heart related problems.

Besides including them in salads, tomatoes can be used in many other ways. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following ideas for incorporating more tomatoes into your diet.

  • Replace high calorie cream sauces with marinara or tomato-based sauces on your pasta.
  • Include tomatoes as part of your breakfast menu – top scrambled eggs with tomatoes or include them in breakfast tacos and burritos.
  • Add canned or stewed tomatoes to soups and stews
  • Make your own fresh salsa and use it as a topping for salads, potatoes, meats and eggs.

For more information on the benefits and use of tomatoes, check out the following websites:

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomato Products Wellness Council

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