Summer is the perfect time to up your daily dose of veggies. Tomatoes, in particular, are an especially appealing healthy treat. Aside from being a tasty addition to salads and sandwiches, tomatoes are also loaded with beneficial nutrients that will give you more energy to do the things you love doing on warm, sunny days. Next time you grab some Lee's Mongolian BBQ, pile on this amazing superfood.
1. Stronger Bones
Tomatoes are loaded with vitamin K and calcium, two essential nutrients that produce stronger bones. Such nutrients also help repair tissue damage and reduce the risk of developing age-related bone conditions.
2. Better Skin
The lycopene in tomatoes is the same compound used in most facial creams. Just peel some tomatoes (about 8-10) and place the skin on your face so that the inside material touches your skin; kind of icky, but you'll enjoy rejuvenated skin this summer -- after you wash it off.
3. Cell Repair
Beta-carotene combines with the vitamin A and C in tomatoes to act as strong antioxidants, which neutralized harmful cell-damaging free radicals. Redder tomatoes are packed with even more beta-carotene. Cooking or stewing does destroy the vitamin C though, so include some raw tomatoes in your diet to get the maximum benefits.
4. Repairing Smoking Damage
The coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid in tomatoes can provide some degree of protection against the cancer-causing agents found in cigarette smoke. Of course, this doesn't mean tomatoes make cigarettes safe.
5. Cancer Protection
There's research suggesting that the lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the odds of developing certain cancers, including stomach cancer and prostate cancer. As a natural antioxidant, lycopene slows the growth of cancer cells. In this case, cooking actually produces more lycopene in tomatoes.
6. Better Heart Health
Potassium and vitamin B are the nutrients in tomatoes that can help lower "bad" cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. There are studies suggesting that eating tomatoes as part of a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of having a heart attack or suffering a stroke.
7. Shiny Hair
Enjoy shiny hair while you're at the beach or just hanging out this summer thanks to tomatoes. The vitamin A in this versatile "fruit" works wonders for your hair, along with your skin and teeth.
8. Good for Your Kidneys
Studies suggest that the mix of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent kidney stones. Tomatoes without the seeds are especially beneficial for this purpose.
9. Managing Blood Sugar
If you're dealing with blood sugar issues, the chromium in tomatoes may be able to help keep levels within a normal range. The other nutrients in tomatoes, especially the B vitamins, can also help with your sugar management efforts. It's believed that chronic high blood sugar levels deplete your body of essential B vitamins.
10. Protecting Your Vision
Maintain your vision this summer by eating tomatoes in both raw and cooked form. The vitamin A in tomatoes, which stays at roughly the same level even when tomatoes are cooked, can help prevent nigh-blindness and improve overall eye health.
Tomatoes are healthiest in their raw form, although you'll still get a decent amount of nutrients when you include tomatoes in your favorite summer recipes. You can always boost the nutritional value of tomatoes by incorporating peas, carrots, squash, berries, and other appetizing summer fruits and veggies into your summer diet.