Properties of tomatoes

Tomato and olive oil provide great health benefits

The tomato is a very versatile and delicious fruit. In summer it is the queen of the kitchen for its use in salads and gazpacho, it is also widely used to prepare fried tomato, and the best with a good extra virgin olive oil. Moreover, with the properties of tomato that we are going to tell you about, you will be much more interested in this product. Therefore, be sure to read this article and learn more about it.

Index:

  1. Tomato composition
  2. Properties, vitamins, lycopenes and benefits of tomatoes
  3. Properties of raw tomatoes
  4. Disadvantages of tomatoes

Summary: The tomato is a fantastic fruit that is very versatile. In addition, it provides us with a large number of health benefits. Also, in our shop in Las Rozas de Madrid you will find the best extra virgin olive oils to accompany a good tomato: Casas de Hualdo, Oro Bailen…

Other interesting articles: Benefits of olive oil.

1. Composition of the tomato

Tomatoes contain water, carbohydrates, proteins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, C and K and carotenoids such as lycopene and fibre. Vitamin C and lycopenes are the most important antioxidants in tomatoes, the latter being one of the most interesting components of tomatoes, as it has an antioxidant capacity twice as high as β-carotene and 10 times higher than vitamin E. All of these components provide us with great health benefits.

2. Properties of tomatoes: vitamins, lycopenes and benefits of tomatoes

One of the most important components of tomatoes, apart from its great richness of vitamins are lycopenes.

Lycopene content in tomatoes varies according to tomato variety, growing conditions, maturity and post-harvest factors.

Lycopene in unprocessed food is found in a chemical form called trans, that is, in a structure of the atoms of the molecule by which the human body has more difficulty absorbing it. For this reason, it is advisable to process the tomato by heat, achieving a small chemical transformation of the lycopene molecule, which is transformed into cis and thus improves its absorption by our body. In short, lycopene in tomatoes has higher antioxidant properties if processed and subjected to a thermal process than when taken raw.  In addition, lycopenes are fat-soluble, they only dissolve in fat. Therefore, for a better absorption of the lycopenes, we should consume the processed tomato with an oil, and that better than with the extra virgin olive oil, saying it still a little clearer, the best way to ingest the lycopenes is in tomato sauce.

Lycopenes once in the human body are absorbed only between 10 and 30%, the rest are excreted, the amount of which is excreted depending on biological and lifestyle factors such as: sex, age, body composition, hormonal status and diet ingested.

Next we will expose the benefits of tomatoes, which will be greater, if they have been cooked.

3. Properties of raw tomatoes

Numerous research groups have investigated and continue to investigate the properties of tomatoes. Tomatoes are considered a functional food, that is to say, a food that not only does not nourish, but also brings us enormous health benefits, as we will see later on.

a) Cardiovascular diseases

According to studies carried out by the University of Eastern Finland and published in the journal “Neurology”, the consumption of tomato products reduces the possibility of suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as stroke.

Lycopenes have vasodilating properties, they protect us against hypertension and the formation of clots in the arteries according to Miren Morillas, from the Spanish Society of Cardiology.

In addition, tomatoes containing vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron and vitamin K help to maintain a healthy circulatory system.

b) Calcification of the bones

Tomatoes contain vitamin K. Vitamin K activates the osteocalcin hormone, responsible for anchoring calcium in bones, thus helping us to mineralise bones.

c) Anticancer:

Tomatoes contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and lycopenes to prevent oxidative stress that could damage cellular DNA and thus reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, cancer may promote apoptosis, the cell death of cancer cells.

d) Prostate cancer

Publications published by the Harward School of Public Health and the University of Harward (USA) showed that regular consumption of tomatoes, especially consumption of fried tomato sauce, could almost halve the risk of prostate cancer and other cancers.

e) Breast cancer

Studies published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that a diet rich in tomatoes reduces the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

The risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women increases with increasing body mass. Regular intake of tomatoes has a positive effect on the hormones that regulate the metabolism of body fat and sugar.

f) Improves vision:

The tomato contains vitamin A, which improves night vision and prevents eye degeneration.

g) Anti-inflammatory

Studies in mice have shown that lycopenes have the ability to prevent inflammation in fatty tissues.

h) Digestion:

Tomato fibre helps to improve the circulation of food through the digestive system, helping digestion.

Elasun tomato jam, with all the properties of tomatoes

Picture 1: Tomato jam to get all the properties of tomatoes

At universities in Spain and elsewhere in the world a great effort is being made to continue discovering more properties of tomatoes.

4. Inconveniences of tomatoes

One of the prejudices given to tomatoes is that they contain oxalate, a compound that promotes the formation of kidney stones. However, the oxalate content in tomatoes is too small to produce a sufficient amount of kidney stones.

Kidney stones are small crystals of calcium, usually oxalate, that can block the kidney, bladder, or ureters. Their expulsion is very painful and therefore, at any sign, one must go urgently to the hospital.

 

Source

Properties of tomatoes for our health http://www.who.int/

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