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Tomato - Health Benefits of Sweet Tomato

Botanical Name: Lycopersicon esculentum

Family Name : Solanaceae

Tomato, is today the most popular garden vegetable in America. For many years, however, tomatoes (then called "love apples") were considered poisonous and were grown solely for their ornamental value. Tomatoes are usually easy to grow and a few plants provide an adequate harvest for most families

Tomato is a worldwide popular vegetable. It is a short-lived perennial plant , grown as an annual plant, typically growing to 1-3 m tall, with a weakly woody stem that usually scrambles over other plants. The leaves are 10-25 cm long, pinnate, with 5-9 leaflets, each leaflet up to 8 cm long, with a serrated margin; both the stem and leaves are densely glandular-hairy. The flowers are 1-2 cm across, yellow, with five pointed lobes on the corolla ; they are borne in a cyme of 3-12 together. The fruit is an edible, brightly coloured (usually red, from the pigment lycopene) berry, 1-2 cm diameter in wild plants, commonly much larger in cultivated forms.

Origin and Distribution

The Tomato History has origins traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 A.D; therefore it is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas from where it was brought to Europe. Now it is a popular vegetable and is available in the market worldwide. It is grown everywhere in America, Africa, India, China and holds second place after potato among vegetables.

Properties of tomato

Deobstruent, stimulant, anti-scorbutic, diuretic, anti-cancer, ophthalmic.

Food Value of tomato

Nearly 100 years back, tomato was considered poisonous. It was known as acid-forming food which might increase blood & tissue acidity. so, persons having acidity, gout, rheumatism & arthritis should avoid its use. But as per latest studies in nutritional chemistry, these ideas are baseless.

Tomato analysis (per 100 gm's edible part) proves that it is full of nutritional and health giving qualities:

Moisture 91.1 %
Protein 0.9 %
Fibre 0.8 %
Carbohydrate 3.4 %
Phosphorus 20 mg
Fat 0.2 %
Calcium 50 mg
Vitamin C 30 mg
Iron 0.4 mg

Medicinal Uses & benefits

  1. Tomato is a powerful deobstruent, removes diseased particles and opens natural channels of the body. It is a gentle, natural stimulant for kidneys and helps to wash away the toxins which cause diseases and contaminate our system.
  2. Raw tomato juice is very popular and widely used. It has an alkaline reaction in our body and is highly nutritious containing good amount of vitamin C that increases on ripening.
  3. Acids of tomato are malic, citric and oxalic. These acids combine with sodium or potassium to form sod malate, citrate and oxilate. After oxidation in our body, they give alkaline reaction products in the form of carbonates of sodium and potassium. This increases alkalinity in our body, not acidity as thought earlier. 50/ it is an antacid.
  4. It is said to be very effective in controlling the percentage of sugar in the urine of diabetic patients. It has low carbohydrate content and is a good food for diabetics.
  5. Tomatoes are highly useful in the treatment of obesity. One or two ripe tomatoes taken early morning without breakfast is considered a safe method to reduce weight. Besides it provides basic nutrients & vitamin C.
  6. Tomato is a rich source of vitamin A. So, it is a dependable preventive remedy against night blindness & other eye diseases. Tomato leaves are useful in optic nerve and eye weakness. Doses-a handful of fresh leaves of tomato kept for 1 5 minutes in a cup containing soft hot water. The water is decanted and a teaspoonful, three times before meals/breakfast daily is useful.
  7. Eating a tomato early in the morning prevents formation of urinary calculi/stone as it has sufficient quantity of acids & vitamins A and C. It is proved that lack of these vitamins invites recurrent UTI and it causes calculi/stone formation. Tomato controls the acid value of urine to 5.5 or less, thereby reducing the chances of infection by increasing the acidity of the urine.
  8. For respiratory disorders, a glassful of fresh tomato juice mixed with honey, a pinch of powdered cardamom seeds, taken after swallowing three peeled garlic cloves every night before- going to bed is highly beneficial in the treatment of tuberculosis and other lung infections. It increases the body's resistance and prevents drug resistance and the relapse which is common in TB. In asthmatics, it reduces the congestion in the bronchioles and checks the hyper-secretion of mucus and reduces spasms.
  9. Eating tomatoes regularly gives protection against cancer as it contains a compound Iycopene, a vitamin-like compound that interferes with molecules that cause DNA damage that lead to prostate cancer. As per Journal of National Cancer Institute, the more tomatoes men eat, the less likely they are to get the disease. So, you could be protecting yourself against prostate cancer with every tomato you consume.

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