Here’s the truth: tomato is a fruit! Well, it is referred to as a vegetable, and you won’t certainly find it in the fruit aisle next to oranges, but ladies and gentlemen, tomato is a “FRUIT”. Confused? So were we, which is why we set to find out what’s the deal with this fleshy red food.
Looking at Tomato from a Botanical Perspective
Botanically speaking, a fruit is identified by the seeds present in it. This by definition means that zucchinis, tomatoes, melons and plums are edible fruits. However, since we define fruits as foods that are high in fructose and vegetables not so much, this is why tomato is said to be a vegetable. So, don’t get hung up on tomatoes being a “vegetable or fruit”. It’s as simple as that!
Here a few fast facts to get you familiar with tomatoes:
- Known as Solanum lycopersicum, tomato is a berry that belongs to the nightshade family plant, which comes from South America
- It has the antioxidant lycopene, which is a great dietary source. It is linked to various health benefits such as reduced risk of cancer and heart disease
- They contain Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Folate and potassium in abundance
- You can even find them in the color purple
Tomatoes (Red, Raw, Ripe) – 100 grams
Minerals and Vitamins
Following are a few minerals and vitamins present in tomatoes that offer various health benefits:
Vitamin K1 – Is important for bone health and blood coagulation.
Vitamin C – Is an essential antioxidant and nutrient. It helps in the formation of collagen and aids in the absorption of iron. Eating a medium sized tomato daily delivers 28% of RDI.
Potassium – Is an essential mineral, which is beneficial for cardiovascular disease prevention and blood pressure control.
Folate (B9) – Belonging to the B-vitamins group, this vitamin is important for cell function and normal tissue growth. It is particularly great for pregnant women.
The lycopene in tomatoes lower bad cholesterol and fight inflammation. In fact, it has a protective effect that works in favor of the inner layer blood vessels, which may decrease risks associated with blood clotting.
Lycopene also offers protection from sunburns. A study revealed that when people ingested a certain amount of tomato paste with olive oil, they were able to reduce sunburns by 40%.
Possible Cancer Prevention
While high quality trials have yet to be conducted to prove that tomatoes are beneficial when it comes to cancer prevention, initial testing in a few studies has proved that lycopene might control abnormal cell growth. So, it’s possible that in the near future, tomato might be hailed as the fruit that helps fight cancerous cells.
The bottom line is that tomatoes are sweet and juicy, and they fight several diseases and are full of antioxidants. It all comes down to the plant compound lycopene that offers the health benefits and makes this fruit a valuable edible item in your diet.
Find out more about how to improve your health and wellbeing by speaking to our in-house nutritionist – http://bloomwellnesscentre.com/.