Tomato is a plant from the solnaceae family which originated in central and south America, most probably in Mexico. The word tomato comes from the Aztec language tomati.
Although tomato is a fruit, it is mostly consumed and cooked as a vegetable.
Tomato is a great source of lycopene which is a carotenoid pigment. Lycopene is an antioxidant which helps prevent cells damage.
Tomato is a great source in antioxidants because it is also a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene in addition to the lycopene it contains. This makes it a great help in cancer prevention diet especially for prostate cancer as some studies have found that eating tomato on a regular base could help prevent prostate cancer.
The thing to know about the lycopene in tomato is that unlike the vitamins C, which is mostly lost when heated, the tomato cells release more lycopene when heated. This means that if you want to have more lycopene intake from a tomato, it should be cooked before being consumed.
So to have better benefits from tomato, a diet should be diversified with cooked and fresh tomatoes, as the fresh tomatoes are richer in vitamin C.
Lycopene in particular, but also other antioxidants have been proven to be a good help for bone health as studies have found that the lack of this antioxidants could have consequential changes in bone tissues.
Tomato is also good for the heart health as the antioxidants it contains, and again, especially the lycopene, help reduce the risk of lipid peroxidation in the bloodstream of which one of the consequences is atherosclerosis, it also helps blood fats regulation and help lower cholesterol.
Lycopene is a rich phytonutrient which like any natural product should not be consumed immoderately, as it would lose its ability to heal or protect the organism, which means that a good healthy diet is a diversified diet.
Then whether it is tomato juice, a pizza, or a tomato salad, you should enjoy tomato cuisine in all its form.
Tomato is one of my favorite fruit as I grew up learning how to organically grow tomatoes and other vegetables in our raised bed garden. I loved to eat tomatoes directly from the plant when its sweet scent would mix with the scent of the earth and tickle my noose.
One of my favorite tomato dish is the Mediterranean stuffed tomato, and it’s very yummy!