By Hwaa Irfan
Tomatoes have become an everyday food so much so that the fact they contain beneficial properties may have very well become an oversight. If however, we can build into our thoughts some of those benefits, when we or one of the members of our family are feeling a little under the weather we can get the best that they have to offer to re-balance our health.
These fruit/vegetables that we have taken for granted is a perennial plant that is now commonly grown as an annual plant. Its soft hairy stems need support in order to allow those fruit/vegetables we love to mature. Reaching up to 3 meters in length, the stem bears long leaves that hold as many as 9 leaflets. The whole plant is actually toxic (alkaloids), except for the fruit being a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Native to Central and South America, the five pointed lobed yellow flowers bear green fruit that when ripen become the red we know and love. That said and done, one can find many varieties from yellow, orange, to green and brown as well as from cherry tomatoes to large irregular shaped ones. Two previously unknown species to the West (Solanum arcanum and Solanum huaylasense) were found growing on the slopes of the Andes in Peru. Wild Tomatoes still grow in places like Chile, which more than likely contain additional properties.
Nutritional Content includes:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B₆ (green tomatoes)
- Vitamin B₁₂ (green tomatoes)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D (green tomatoes)
- Vitamin E (Alpha tocoferol)
- Vitamin K (green tomatoes)
- Thiamin (green tomatoes)
- Riboflavin (green tomatoes)
- Niacin (green tomatoes)
- Pantothenic acid (green tomatoes)
- Betaine (green tomatoes)
Medicinal Properties includes:
Lycopene is one of the main bioactive constituents of a healthy tomato, which current studies are exploring its anticancerous nature. As far back as 1995, the consumption of lycopene in tomatoes was found to lower the risk of prostate cancer. But the data compiled by the National Cancer Institute evidences that tomatoes are effective against lung and stomach cancer as well when consumed in large amounts.
While cooking tomatoes loses Vitamin C, cooking tomatoes seems to increase the lycopene content, as it is released by the process. As we know, adding a little oil when cooking helps to ‘hold’ the content within the food itself. In fact, lycopene helps to dissolve the animal fats in other foods like dairy products, meat, and deep fried foods reducing the risk of hardened arteries.
Carotenoid is an effective antioxidant, but lycopene is more effective than beta-carotene at reducing bad cholesterol, i.e. LDL, and combined with its Vitamin E content, prevents oxidation, or slow cell death, the precursor to physical manifestation of disease.
The high level of potassium in tomatoes, is extremely important to cell respiration, and is also very important in maintaining the electrolytic balance of bodily fluids. As such, potassium is very important to the kidneys, and plays a positive role in reducing high blood pressure.
Some Russian doctors have been considerate enough to prescribe tomatoes as a solution to factory workers who work with toxic chemicals. It has been found that tomatoes helps to detoxify the body because of its chlorine, and sulphur content which is only needed by the body in small amounts. Chlorine also helps to stimulate the liver thus helping to remove waste from the body. This makes tomatoes a good candidate for the bodily spring clean with its ‘cool’ nature as defined in Chinese traditional medicine, as an effective detoxifier, as well as lowering blood pressure.
In Japan, researchers found tomatoes to be affective with the problem of vascular disease as a result of the bioactive constituents 9-oxo-octadecadienoic, especially where there are abnormally large amounts of lipids or fats in the blood stream.
Tonic – Fresh tomato juice detoxifies the body, speeds up the removal of toxic waste, and stimulates the liver.
Diarrhea (non-organic related) – tea made from equal amounts of 2 level tbsp. of dried tomatoes and dried apple in 2-3 cups of water then add to a cup of warm water and rink as needed.
Face Peel – Rub fresh tomatoes (loosens dead skin) on clean skin (all skin types). The Vitamin C content (missing in cooked tomatoes) has a healing affect, and the acid unblocks pores, loosens blackheads, and makes the skin softer.
In balance He gave us everything we needed, but as for what we want!
“Tomatoes, Red, Ripe, Raw, Year Round Average…” http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2681/2
Young-Il Kim, Shizuka Hirai, Haruya Takahashi, Tsuyoshi Goto, Chie Ohyane, Taneaki Tsugane, Chiaki Konishi, Takashi Fujii, Shuji Inai, Yoko Iijima, Koh Aoki, Daisuke Shibata, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Teruo Kawada. 9-oxo-10(E),12(E)-octadecadienoic acid derived from tomato is a potent PPAR α agonist to decrease triglyceride accumulation in mouse primary hepatocytes. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201000264. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106071154.htm