The Health Benefits of Tomatoes.

tomatoes ripening on the vine

 

What’s So Great About Them?

Tomatoes are loaded with a substance called lycopene. It gives them their bright red color and helps protect them from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. In much the same way, it can help protect your cells from damage.

immune system concept

 

Immune System

Lycopene is an antioxidant — it fights molecules called free radicals that can damage your cells and affect your immune system. Because of that, foods high in lycopene, like tomatoes, may make you less likely to have lung, stomach, or prostate cancer. Some research shows they might help prevent the disease in the pancreas, colon, throat, mouth, breast, and

checking blood pressure

 

Heart

Lycopene also may help lower your levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, as well as your blood pressure. And that may lower your chances of heart disease. Other nutrients in tomatoes, like vitamins B and E and antioxidants

human eye close up

 

Eyes

Tomatoes have substances called lutein and zeaxanthin that may help protect your eyes from the blue light made by digital devices like smartphones and computers. They also may help keep your eyes from feeling tired and ease headaches from eyestrain. And some research shows they may even make you less likely to have a more serious form of the leading cause

lungs anatomy illustration

 

Lungs

Some studies show that tomatoes may be helpful for people who have asthma and may help prevent emphysema, a condition that slowly damages the air sacs in your lungs. That may be because lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, among other antioxidants, fight the harmful substances in tobacco smoke, which is the leading cause of emphysema. Scientists are trying

blood vessel close up

 

Blood Vessels

Getting more tomatoes into your diet may make you less likely to have a stroke, which is when blood flow gets cut off to a part of your brain.  Studies suggest that they may ease inflammation, boost your immune system, lower your cholesterol levels, and keep your blood from clotting. All those things may help prevent strokes.

mans smile close up

 

Oral Health

Studies have shown that lycopene may help with the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis in the same way it may help prevent cancer — by fighting free radicals. But eating lots of raw tomatoes can damage the enamel on your teeth — thanks to the high amount of acid — and brushing soon afterward can make that worse. It’s a good idea to wait at least 30 minutes

tomato paste close up

 

Skin

You know hats and sunscreen can help shield you from the sun. Well, the lycopene in tomatoes may do something for that, too, possibly in the same way it protects tomatoes. But you don’t put it on your skin — it works

 

9 / 14

Skin

You know hats and sunscreen can help shield you from the sun. Well, the lycopene in tomatoes may do something for that, too, possibly in the same way it protects tomatoes. But you don’t put it on your skin — it works on your cells from the inside.

Swipe to advance
fresh tomatoes canned tomatoes diptych
 

Fresh vs. Canned

Both can be good for you, but in different ways. Nutrients like lycopene may be easier for your body to take in and use from canned tomato products compared with fresh tomatoes. But the heat that’s used to process them

caprese salad

 

Serving Suggestion: Caprese Salad

Fresh summer tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and basil — it’s beautiful and delicious. The combo also works from a health perspective: Your body needs the fat in ingredients like cheese and olive

homemade marinara sauce

 

Serving Suggestion: Homemade Marinara

This is a great way to get the most out of the tomato’s most famous nutrient: lycopene. The heat used to cook the tomatoes can make the nutrient easier for your body to use. And you can add a touch of olive oil to help

salsa and chips

 

Serving Suggestion: Salsa

Use this in place of tomato-based sauces like ketchup and barbecue sauce, which can be loaded with sugar, salt, and preservatives. Make your own so you know exactly what’s going into it, or check the labels and look for a healthy

roasted tomatoes

13 / 14

Serving Suggestion: Roasted Tomatoes

If you’ve never roasted them over the grill, you’re missing out on a treat. Their intense smoky flavor makes for a nice side dish with whatever you’re serving. If it’s too cold to get out to the grill, just broil them in the oven.