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TOMATOES

Tomatoes are considered a fruit (botanically), but they are also considered a vegetable (for culinary purposes). We the Black and Minority ethnic group eat a lot of tomatoes (almost daily) especially to cook our stews and soups.  Therefore, knowing the benefits and contents of what we love and eat so much of is very important.

 

Percentage Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. The red tomatoes have a higher vitamin A than the yellow and green tomatoes, while the green tomatoes have a higher vitamin C than the red and yellow tomatoes.  Therefore, if you want a diet rich in vitamins C (which helps the absorption of iron and calcium into our bodies), then go for the green tomatoes, but if you want a diet rich in vitamins A (for good eye sight), then go for the red tomatoes.

 

BENEFITS OF TOMATOES

Tomatoes contain a chemical called LYCOPENE (the chemical that gives tomatoes and other fruits their red colouring). Therefore, when you eat tomatoes you are eating lycopene.

Tomato products including ketchup, tomato juice and pizza sauce, are the richest sources of lycopene.

Cooked tomatoes (like canned tomatoes, tomatoes sauce, ketchup etc.) contain more lycopene than fresh/raw tomatoes.

 

1, Prevents Cholesterol:

The consumption of tomatoes prevents cholesterol. A research carried out in April 2011 looks into the effect of lycopene on serum cholesterol and blood pressure. It was concluded that lycopene taken in 25mg daily dose or greater is effective in reducing LDL cholesterol by about 10%.

 

2, Powerful Antioxidant:

Tomatoes have antioxidant properties, which enable them have anti-aging effect, and are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. As a result of lycopene’s (tomatoes) antioxidated properties, substantial scientific and clinical research has been devoted to a possible correlation between lycopene consumption and general health.

 

3, Reduces the risk of Cancer:

Eating tomatoes reduces the risk of many cancers. There have been several studies that analyse the anti-cancer properties of lycopene which is found in tomatoes. In some studies, lycopene especially in cooked tomatoes has been found to prevent prostate cancer, but other research contradicts this claim.

 

4, Reduces the risk of Cardiovascular diseases (particularly tomato sauces)

 

5, Prevents Skin damage:

Lycopene (which is found in tomatoes) have been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against harmful UV rays.

 

6, Tomatoes are rich in calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

 

7, They are rich in beta-carotene which is very useful for the eyes.

 

8, They are a good source of vitamin C.

 

9, Tomatoes are low calorie fruit which provides adequate nutrients.

 

Please take note again that cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than the raw/fresh one, but because vitamins get destroyed with cooking, then raw tomatoes may contain more   vitamin C than the cooked tomatoes.

 

In conclusion, encouraging the consumption of tomatoes (by emphasising its benefits) and tomato products may help us increase its overall intake because they are widely accepted, cost-effective, and the fact that they are in different forms (e.g  tomato paste, sauce,  raw tomato etc.). This may improve our overall eating pattern and ultimately our health.

 

Researched and Written by Elizabeth SamCoffie

 

 

Reference

 

1, Definition and health benefits of Antioxidants, http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/Antioxidant

Accessed 14th July 2011

 

2, Links to science

Howard D. Sesso, Simin Liu, J.’ Micheal Gaziano, Julie E. buring, Dietary lycopene, Tomato-Based Food Products and Cardiovascular Disease in women’, Http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/7/2336.short

Accessed 21st July 2011

 

3, Links to science

Reid K, Fakler P, ‘Protective effect of lycopene on serum cholesterol and blood pressure: Meta-analyses of intervention trials.

Accessed 10th July 2011

 

4, NHS Choices, “Do tomatoes really compare to statins? Https://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/05may/pages/tomato-lycopene-blood-pressure-cholesterol.aspx

Accessed 10th July 2011

 

5, VITAMINS, H ttp://kidshealth.org/teen/misc/vitamin-chart.html

Accessed 14th July 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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