Solanum lycopersicum. Sound big? Well, it's just the scientific name for tomatoes.
The plant is a typical vine. And no, it's not a vegetable, it's botanically a fruit. It's is berry to be precise. The fruit develops from the ovary and contains the seeds from the flower of the plant. It roots back to western South America, but it started being used as a cultivated fruit by the Mexicans.
The cultivation of tomatoes spread after the Spanish colonization of America. The wild varieties of tomatoes were smaller and more yellow compared to the big red ones you get today.
Tomatoes are 95% water!! Do you need a better and healthier refresher in summer than this? Add some cucumber to these and you'll get the best summer drink. The other 5% of the tomatoes contains Carbohydrates and 1% Protein and Fat. It also contains 80% of insoluble fibers like lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as Folate, Potassium, Vitamin K1 and Vitamin C.
The other plant compounds that are present in Tomatoes are:
• Chlorogenic Acid - It helps to lower high blood pressure.
• Narcigenin - It is seen to reduce inflammation in mice.
• Beta-carotene - This gets converted to Vitamin A in the body.
• Lycopene - This is found in abundance in tomatoes. The redder the tomato, the more Lycopene it has.
What makes Tomatoes a favorite food around the world?
The Lycopene present in tomatoes is known to control the growth of cancerous cells, especially in the colon, breasts and lungs. The antioxidants present stop further carcinogenic reactions in the body.
2. Low Cholesterol And A Healthy Heart:
The seeds of the tomatoes contain no cholesterol. Instead, they contain fibres that aid to lower cholesterol levels. The Potassium present helps prevent any heart diseases too.
3. Lowers High Blood Pressure:
The Lycopene and Chlorogenic Acid present in tomato seeds lower blood pressure levels, preventing hypertension.
4. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Free radical production in the body can cause inflammation. And continued inflammation could lead to Atherosclerosis, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer's Disease and Cardiovascular Diseases. The Lycopene and Beta-carotene present in the tomato seeds helps eliminate these free radicals, thus preventing any disease.
5. Blood Clot Prevention:
Many deaths have been reported due to heart diseases caused by blood clotting. Tomatoes prevent this clotting of the blood. The seeds of tomatoes are surrounded by a thick mucus layer called Fruitlow. Lycopene and Fruitlow together prevent and unblock any clot formation of the blood.
6. Aids in Digestion:
The fiber present in Tomatoes regulates the peristaltic motion of the digestive muscles, helping release more digestive juices. These juices and a healthy motion of the muscles help regulate bowel movements, keeping the entire digestive system healthy, also preventing any occurrence of diarrhea or constipation.
7. Skin Care:
Tomato is excellent for the skin, when eaten or applied externally. When used as a scrub, it gives you smooth skin, it removes all the dead cells. Tomato with curd is used to relieve any sun burn. It's is an excellent coolant. The curd will also leave you with glowing skin. Rubbing a piece of tomato on your skin after you come back from basking in the sun, can help you remove a sun tan before it settles in. Tomatoes are also known to delay ageing. It helps you absorb more oxygen, keeping the skin looking fresh and young.
8. Hair Care:
Tomatoes are an excellent remedy to treat an itchy scalp, dandruff, scalp psoriasis and eczema. The Vitamin C in tomatoes fights any dandruff production, keeping the scalp dandruff free. The provided collagen also promotes normal growth of cells of the scalp. 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice is added to 2-3 ripe Tomatoes and mixed to form a paste. This paste is applied to the scalp. It leaves you with shiny hair and a healthy scalp.
Tomatoes also help in treating dry hair. Tomato paste with oil can be applied to the hair to provide elasticity and shine to the dull, dry hair. It provides a good amount of moisture to the dry scalp, improving hair quality in the process. This makes it a natural conditioner for the hair.
9. Improved Vision:
Vitamin A, an excellent antioxidant, that is provided from excess Beta-Carotene from Tomatoes is a known cure for eye diseases. Majority of the cases of night-blindness and macular degeneration are caused by deficiency of Vitamin A and due to free radicals. The antioxidant properties of Tomatoes eliminate free radicals and reduce risks of any vision-related ailments.
10. Hydrating Diet Food:
Want to lose weight? Add tomatoes to your regular diet. They are 95% water. They have a low-calorie count, about 18-22 calories from one ripe tomato, depending on the size. It also keeps you full for longer, keeping blood sugar levels in control and preventing any unwanted cravings.
Tomatoes are easily available in the market and can also be grown at home. It is a wonder fruit with less than 0.1% sugar content. Eating fruits never got better. With its many benefits to hair, skin and body, it SHOULD be a part of your everyday diet.
"If Tomatoes are classified as fruits, isn't ketchup technically a smoothie?" (food for thought)
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