Tomato is an edible fruit and belongs to nightshade family or Solanaceae. It is almost sour to taste. Tomato is a rich source of vitamins (vitamins A and C), anti oxidants and folic acid. Tomatoes contain an important pigment “lycopene”. This pigment is responsible for red colour of tomatoes. Lycopene has attracted the attention of researchers due to its antioxidant properties. Apart from lycopene, tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein.
Health Benefits of Tomato:
Prevents Cancer – Various studies have revealed that tomatoes can help to prevent various cancers. They can lower the risk of cancers especially cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach. Scientists are trying to find the role of lycopene in prevention of cancer.
Antiageing : Tomatoes have high concentrations of antioxidants. These antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage caused due to free radicals. Regular consumption of this fruit helps to slow down aging process.
Diabetes: High fiber content and presence of chromium in tomatoes help to reduce blood sugar level. The antioxidants in this fruit are known to prevent occurrence of age related diabetes.
Heart Diseases: Tomatoes are very good source of potassium, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. These aid to reduce blood pressure and thus prevent heart diseases.
Male infertility: According to a study, lycopene the key nutrient of tomatoes can boost fertility of men. The research shows that it can increase sperm count by 70 percent.
Eye Health: Due to their antioxidant properties and high concentration of vitamin A tomatoes can ward of eye diseases especially macular degeneration.
Bone Health: Vitamin K and Calcium present in these fruits help to build strong bones.
Skin health: Tomatoes exhibit antiaging properties. Numerous beneficial antioxidants in this fruit can prevent aging of skin and hair. Free radicals which are the main enemies of skin and hair get destroyed by powerful antioxidant lycopene.
Men’s Health: Tomatoes reduce blood pressure, blood sugar level and help in weight loss. They also increase sperm counts. All these properties make this herb suitable for use in Vajikarana Therapy (an ayurvedic aphrodisiac therapy). This fruit can be considered as natural herbal ayurvedic remedy for erectile dysfunction
Tomatoes and ayurveda : Based on principles of ayurveda tomato increases all three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) especially pitta. It is very juicy and reduces the intensity of digestive fire or agni. It remains sour even after digestion hence can cause acidity and flatulence in some people. The untoward effect of tomatoes can be reduced by cooking it with spices like turmeric, pepper and cumin seeds.
How to consume tomato: Never eat tomatoes with cucumber, dairy products, melon and yogurt. These combinations constitute opposite foods and pave way for accumulation of toxins. Persons who can digest tomatoes without any discomfort can eat them raw or drink as juice. Don’t forget to add a dash of powdered pepper and cumin seeds while consuming raw tomatoes. People who are not comfortable with raw tomatoes can cook them with spices like turmeric, pepper, cumin seeds etc; and incorporate them in their diet. Tomato soup is an ideal dish for these persons.
Home remedies with Tomato:
- Consuming raw tomatoes or drinking sugarless tomato juice or drinking tomato soup before meals help to supply plenty of fibers (which fill the stomach) and nutrients with fewer calories. This helps to reduce body weight.
- Cut a tomato horizontally and dip the cut surface in sugar. Rub this on cleaned face. This acts as a natural scrub which cleanses the skin and slows down aging process.
- Mash the tomato pulp and apply it on cleaned face as a face pack. After 20 minutes wash it off with plain water. The lycopene enzyme of tomato aids in warding off wrinkles, acne, pimple and scars.
- Regular consumption of tomato juice keeps anemia at bay
- A glass of tomato juice with a dash of salt and pepper powder helps to relieve morning sickness.
- Mix one spoon of tomato puree, ½ spoon of lemon juice, pinch of turmeric and ¼ spoon of gram flour. Apply this paste under eyes. Dark circle and puffy eyes reduce with regular use of this remedy.