Tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable, we know that already. We use tomato paste in our dishes as a spice and as a good nutrient supplement. Much has been written about the benefits of tomato in our diet that it is becoming quite a fad already. The question is: What’s in tomato that makes it a healthy food? And how can a health food become detrimental to your health?
Tomato as a health food
Whether a food or a fruit, the tomato is known to have properties that are medically proven to lower the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Tomato is a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants that combat the cancer-causing free radicals. It has a phytonutrient called carotenoid that is found in most red-coloured fruits and vegetables.
Other illnesses that can be prevented by tomato consumption
Colorectal cancer- the carotenoid found in tomato has been known to combat highly charged free radicals from damaging healthy cells in the stomach, colon, and rectum.
Hypertension-lycopene is found to lower systolic blood pressure and increases the efficacy of anti-hypertension drugs.
Constipation– tomato is high in fibre and water content. It adds bulk to your stool and helps regulate bowel movement.
Skin problems- The Vitamin C in tomato helps the collagen in the skin to rejuvenate the cells damaged by the sun, air pollution, and body toxins.
Prenatal problems- A mother’s regular diet of tomato supplies the essential folic acid to protect the developing baby from birth defects.
Depressive disorder– the folic acid in tomato prevents the excessive production of an amino acid called homocysteine. This amino acid interferes with the normal flow of blood and nutrients going to the brain. It also blocks the production of “feel good” hormones called serotonin and dopamine leading to a mental state of depression.
The disadvantages of excessive tomato consumption
Before going on a tomato-eating binge, know its adverse effects on your health. Tomatoes have high acid content which can aggravate existing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you have this problem, eat tomatoes moderately.
Some people cannot tolerate tomato, in the same way, they cannot tolerate lactose in milk. Food intolerance and allergies vary from person to person and more often, it is caused by enzyme deficiency. Tomato intolerance can cause stomach spasm, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. If you experience these contraindications after eating a tomato or any tomato-based dishes, refrain from eating them or reduce consumption.