Have you ever asked whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable? Botanists classify tomatoes as fruits because they originate from blooming plants’ ovaries and contain seeds.
On the other hand, tomatoes are commonly considered a vegetable from a culinary standpoint because they are prepared and served as a vegetable.
In any case, tomatoes are a delicious and nutritious food that complements most healthy eating routines.
In addition, tomatoes include a variety of minerals and substances that are beneficial to one’s health, including vitamin C, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin K.
Many people enjoy the vivid red vegetable, and little cherry tomatoes are particularly popular with children.
Tomatoes are versatile vegetables that can be eaten fresh, baked, boiled, or fried. We explain what happens in your body when you consume tomatoes daily.
Tomatoes: Fruit or Vegetable?
The origins of the tomato are unknown. However, there is evidence that the first variations appeared in Peru around 1000 BC.
It was most likely domesticated considerably later by the Maya in Mexico, from which it spread to Europe around the early 16th century.
It took many years before it was established as a staple food.
The tomato is a member of the nightshade family, which contains dangerous plants like deadly nightshade and mandrake. That’s why it was once thought to be inedible. This is no longer a problem.
Today, the only debate is whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable. – The answer is no. Tomatoes are vegetables according to the culinary definition, yet they are fruit according to botany.
As a result, they belong to a third category known as fruiting vegetables. Fruit vegetables have qualities similar to fruits, such as cucumbers and peppers.
There are currently thousands of distinct types available. For example, I am used to the following sorts of trade:
- Cocktail tomatoes
- Tomatoes with Ribs of Beefsteak
- Green tomatoes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Roma tomatoes
All commercial varieties can also be found as vine tomatoes. Tomatoes ripen straight on the bush and are plucked with the panicle, in other words.
They can absorb many nutrients since they stay on the plant as long as possible without dropping off.
The flavor reflects this. In my location, the vine tomato is the most popular, especially in the shape of cherry and cocktail tomatoes. Each single home purchases 11 kg of fresh tomatoes each year on average.
How Healthy Are Tomatoes?
Even before tomatoes took over the world’s kitchens, scientists were intrigued by their medical capabilities.
For example, they have long been thought to have aphrodisiac properties. As a result, the term “love apple” was coined.
There is, however, no scientific evidence for this impact. What is clear is that the tomato is not only delicious but also healthful and high in key elements.
For one thing, it’s main water; therefore, it’s low in calories. However, it is high in vitamin C, potassium, and secondary plant compounds.
Plant pigments, known as carotenoids, are also included. For example, the tomato’s scarlet hue is caused by the carotenoid lycopene, which is considered to have some health-promoting properties.
Nutritional Information On Tomatoes
A small tomato (90g) has 16 calories, 0.8g protein, 3.5g carbohydrate, and 0.2g fat.
In addition, tomatoes include high levels of vitamin C, fiber, and K. The USDA provides the nutritional information listed below:
- 16 calories
- 5 mg sodium
- 0.8g protein
- 12.5 mg vitamin C
- 7.2 mg vitamin K
A small (90 g) tomato provides 3.5 grams of carbs. 2.4 grams of carbohydrates come from naturally occurring sugars, while 1.1 grams come from fiber. Tomatoes are a food with a low glycemic index.
Tomatoes, like most fruits and vegetables, are low in fat.
A small, fresh tomato has nearly 1 gram of protein.
Minerals and vitamins
Tomatoes are high in potassium, and vitamin C. Tomatoes also contain several beneficial forms of vitamin A, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
A tiny tomato (90g) has 16 calories, 73% carbohydrates, 18% protein, and 9% fat.
Tomatoes are a hydrating, low-calorie, low-fat fruit with a low glycemic index. In addition, tomatoes are high in vitamins potassium and, C, K.
Tomatoes’ Health Benefits
Because of their phytonutrient concentration, tomatoes provide numerous health benefits as we can see below as we read along in this article.
Do Tomatoes Aid In The Prevention Of Cancer?
Lycopene is being researched as a possible medication for prostate cancer prevention. That’s why researchers evaluated 17 studies on the effect of tomato consumption on prostate cancer development.
They found that the tomato may play a role in prevention in your meta-analysis, which was published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology.
Because their findings suggest that the higher the level of lycopene in blood serum, the lower the chance of developing prostate cancer.
There was no discernible difference between raw and cooked tomatoes.
However, more research is needed to discover the type and quantity of tomato products that can potentially prevent cancer.
Lycopene levels in processed tomato foods (such as ketchup or canned tomatoes) are higher because processing removes water, resulting in a more concentrated tomato product.
Promotes Heart Health
To maintain heart health, lycopene in tomatoes combines synergistically with other antioxidant vitamins (such as A, E, and C).
Some studies have found a link between lycopene in tomatoes and lower oxidized LDL and arterial plaque. Tomatoes also provide potassium, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
Helps With Eyesight
Tomatoes are high in vitamin A, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin. These two forms of vitamin A build up in the retina and aid in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration.
In addition, eating tomatoes alongside fatty meals (for example, in a salad with olive oil) enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which are essential for good vision.
Protects Against Sun Damage
Tomato phytonutrients defend against some of the consequences of UVB damage.
Although tomatoes alone will not prevent skin cancer, having them in your diet will increase your body’s resistance to the hazards of certain types of solar rays.
It may reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
In rats, tomatoes have been linked to antihyperglycemic benefits, but not in people. Despite this, tomatoes are still helpful to people with diabetes.
Tomatoes have been demonstrated to lower diabetes-related oxidative damage. They also prevent inflammation, increased atherosclerosis, and tissue damage, expected disease consequences.
Do Tomatoes Lower The Risk Of A Stroke?
In one study, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland investigated if carotenoids are connected with a lower risk of stroke.
They accompanied 1,031 males aged 46 to 65 over twelve years to accomplish this. As a result, 67 strokes happened over this period.
They considered numerous parameters, such as age and blood pressure. Finally, scientists concluded that participants with the highest lycopene content in their blood serum had a 55% decreased risk of stroke. They suppose that tomatoes have a preventative impact.
1. Better Skin
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, proven beneficial to our skin. It also protects against UV-A and UV-B rays, which cause premature skin aging. In addition, tomatoes help to prevent wrinkles!
2. You Slim Down
Tomatoes are vegetables that are not only low in calories but also high in water content. However, you can eat it without worry because it contains only 21 calories per 100 grams.
This is because water retention in the body is eliminated due to the high potassium content. At the same time, tomatoes are high in vitamins and nutrients.
3. Strong Immune System
Tomatoes boost our immune system, which is especially useful in the fall and winter.
In addition, all green, yellow, and red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene. This antioxidant boosts our immune system and lowers our heart attacks and stroke risk.
Can Tomatoes Cause Harm?
Tomatoes, like most nightshade plants, contain the plant defense chemical solanine. It is used to repel pests and prevent bacteria and mold formation.
But unfortunately, it is toxic to humans. It can even be lethal when taken in high dosages.
For example, a dose of one milligram per kilogram of body weight can cause poisoning, while a dose of three milligrams per kilogram of body weight can be fatal.
On the other hand, ripe tomatoes are safe because they contain just 0 to 0.7 milligrams of solanine per 100 grams.
Furthermore, a considerable portion of it is housed in the base of the stem, which can readily remove.
Unripe and still green tomatoes are a different story. This plant protection chemical can be found in doses of up to 32 milligrams.
As a result, they should be avoided. Because solanine is heat-stable, frying or cooking does not reduce the percentage.
What Effects Do Tomatoes Have On Bones And Muscles?
According to Japanese researchers, eating tomatoes and tomato derivatives can reduce age-related decreases in skeletal and muscular strength.
The more tomatoes consumed throughout the week, the more steady the grip strength remained.
Lycopene can also help to prevent bone wear and strain. To discover out, researchers in Portugal added lycopene to cell cultures of specific blood cells.
Their findings suggest that carotene has an anabolic effect on bone metabolism. This could also help with the bone structure, strength, and function.
If you have seasonal grass pollen allergies, eating tomatoes may cause an oral allergy.
Itching of the mouth, ears, or throat and swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat are possible symptoms. If you feel you are allergic to tomatoes, consult your doctor.
Tomatoes are acidic by nature. Therefore, you should avoid tomatoes and tomato products if you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn.
What Should I Look For When Buying Tomatoes?
Keep sustainability in mind when purchasing any fruit or vegetable.
For example, tomatoes from the region have a shorter travel route, which protects the environment and keeps the fruits and vegetables fresher for longer.
Furthermore, tomatoes harvested early due to long transportation routes and must still ripen have a more excellent solanine content.
Another perk of purchasing organic tomatoes: Brazilian researchers discovered that organically cultivated tomatoes have more sugar, vitamin C, and polyphenols.
Organic tomatoes generate more key components due to the low growing conditions. They make them protect themselves from stress.
When purchasing, ensure the tomatoes are lovely and firm and that the peel is unbroken, so you have to cut away as little as possible because most of the lycopene is found in the shell.
There are numerous tomato varietals. In addition, tomatoes are available in various shapes (from small balls to enormous ovals), colors (ranging from green to red, yellow, and orange), and sizes from small cherry tomatoes to large beefsteak tomatoes.
The sweetness and acidity of fruit vary according to the growing circumstances and the level of ripeness at harvest. Some tomatoes, such as the plum, have few seeds, whereas others have many.
In addition to fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes that are diced, shredded, or pureed are available, and they frequently contain extra additives such as salt. Tomato goods include:
Tomato paste: Concentrates cooked tomatoes.
Tomato juice: Sold alone or as part of vegetable juice blends.
Sun-dried tomatoes: Sold separately or bundled.
In my house, tomatoes are one of the most used items, and they are used as a base ingredient in a wide variety of condiments, including ketchup and salsa.
Always make sure to read the label before purchasing any commercial tomato sauce. Some brands of jarred tomato sauce include significant amounts of added sugar and sodium.
Using fresh or canned tomatoes to create your sauce at home is an excellent method to sidestep the need for these additional components.
When It Is Ideal
Look for plump, firm, fresh tomatoes with smooth, shining skin. The color should be consistent.
It would help if you avoided tomatoes with scratches, bruising, soft patches, or mold. Local farmer’s market tomatoes are at their peak in the summer.
Food Storage And Safety
Contrary to popular opinion, we should not store fresh tomatoes in refrigerators. This might cause the meat to become floury and lose flavor. Store tomatoes in a cold, dry area instead.
Before cutting fresh tomatoes, thoroughly wash them. Refrigerate the tomatoes after cutting them and use them within a few days.
Tomatoes that have been cooked should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within one week.
How To Get Ready
Salads, soups, dips, sauces, and casseroles frequently contain tomatoes. It can be eaten tomatoes fresh or cooked.
Consider searing, grilling, or roasting tomatoes. Roasting produces a juicier, more concentrated flavor and texture.
Before roasting, season the tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, red pepper, and other herbs and spices.
Roasted tomatoes can be eaten on their own or pureed to make a tomato sauce or as a topping for grilled, baked, roasted beef, poultry, or fish.
You can also use tomatoes to make a basic marinara sauce or to flavor foods such as spaghetti squash, chili, and stews.
Season with basil, parsley, oregano, or garlic to taste. You can fill huge tomatoes with meat and rice to make a full supper.
How To Store Tomatoes Properly
Must be stored in Red fruit veggies properly to retain their freshness and flavor. Your tomatoes will remain aromatic for as long as possible if you follow these guidelines:
Place the tomatoes, unwrapped, in an excellent, shady location – not in the fridge! The taste of fresh tomatoes is harmed by the cold.
The optimal temperature ranges between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius. For vine tomatoes, it can also be a little warmer (15 to 18 degrees Celsius).
It would help if you stored Unripe tomatoes in a warm, bright location where they will ripen the fastest.
Store tomatoes separately from other mature fruits and vegetables. Everything around them spoils faster because they emit the ripening gas ethylene.
Consume tomatoes within a week. Light, oxygen, and heat all have an impact on nutrient content.
The store opened tomato goods, such as tomato paste or tomato passata, in the refrigerator tightly wrapped and use within a few days.
Grow Your Tomatoes
Planting your tomato in the garden or on the balcony is the healthiest and most sustainable method to eat tomatoes.
More also, there are some things to consider and put in place before growing your own tomatoes garden:
Tomatoes can be cultivated in late March, for example, in a little greenhouse or on a windowsill. But, because they are susceptible to cold, they are only permitted outside after the ice saints.
Tomatoes are among the most commonly consumed veggies. Therefore, they should fertilize them as soon as they are outside to provide a sufficient supply of nutrients.
Tomato plants are prone to fungal disease. As a result, they should be covered, so the leaves do not become wet.
Drought bothers the plants as well. You’ll need a lot of water. The amount varies according to the variety.
Always water from below and spread out over two to three hours, not all of the water at once.
Remove flowerless side shoots that are regrowing. Gardeners talk about “squeezing out.” In this manner, the plant directs all of its energy onto the central stalk. Can remove Excess leaves as well.
Bush tomatoes are ideal for novices and for growing on a balcony. They are more resistant than other types, do not require pinching, grow low, and produce well.
Further reading: Sources and interesting links