Lewis Grizzard captured the essence of tomatoes when he said that it’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. Tomato is one of the most prized food items of all times. It is a pleasure for eyes as well as your taste buds. The botanists recognize this fruit by the name of Solanum lycopersicum and we consider it a vegetable. Regardless of the fact that you cook it as a vegetable or savor it as a fruit, tomatoes are rich in their nutritional value and hence very beneficial for health.
The tomatoes were used for nourishment in Mexico but they originally came from America. Interestingly, the Europeans were laggards when it came to adopting tomato as a food item, particularly because they suspected it to be poisonous which put them off this beautiful produce. Today the tomatoes are cultivated all over the world, though it is planted annually in regions of moderate climate as opposed to the colder countries where they are harvested throughout the year.
Over seven thousands varieties of tomatoes are cultivated worldwide the most popular of which are cherry, globe, plum and Campari tomatoes. However mostly the tomatoes are orange to red in color which is an indication of nutritional value of tomato as we will elaborate further. However, generally tomato is a smooth skinned fruit. Tomatoes vary in color from red to purple or black but such varieties are hard to find.
Depending on the type, they vary in their acidity level as well as sweetness. Some of the tomatoes like cherry tomatoes are good for salads etc. due to their sweet taste while other varieties are more suited for extracting pulp such as the plum variety. However all types of tomatoes have something to offer in terms of nutritional value.
Nutritional Value of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are often used in salads and soups. In fact they are a part of nearly all our dishes. Find new reasons to motivate yourself to eat tomatoes as you go through the nutritional content that they have to offer.
- Vitamins: Tomatoes help your body to retain its normal functioning by supplying it with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6.
- Essential Nutrients: Tomatoes help the body to go about its normal functioning by provision of the essential nutrients including floate, thiamin, niacin, choline and betaine.
- Minerals: nutritional value of the tomatoes is quite high and they provide minerals to human body including Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Ferrum (Fe), Phosphorus (P), Cuprum (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Kalium (K) and flouride.
Caloric Ratio Pyramids
The CRP shows that the tomatoes are an ideal fruit if you want to lose some weight. This observation is based in the fact that the fat content in tomatoes is as low as 9% while almost 80% of tomatoes is carbohydrates. These are a good protein source (almost 12%) which adds to the nutritional value of the tomatoes.
The Miracle of Lycopene
Lycopene is the miracle nutrient which is usually rare in vegetables and/or fruits. It is the pigment which imparts red color to this wonderful fruit. However the miracle of lycopene goes beyond its rich red color. It is especially effective against the ultra violet sun rays thus protecting the skin and preventing the skin cancer.
Diet with Tomato
As mentioned earlier, nutritional value of tomato is very high but at the same time it has very low fat content thus making it a part of every dietitian’s diet plan.
From salads to soups to sandwich fillings to curry, tomatoes can be served in a variety of ways; either cooked or in raw form.