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Biological Name: Lycopersicon lycopersicum, Lycopersicon esculentumTomato

Family: Nightshade

Elements Applied: Fruit is commonly applied as food and in herbal medicine.

Active Components: In addition to iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and potassium, the plant includes lycopine, a substance of antioxidant origin which is useful in a variety of cancers.

Tomato is very rich in lycopine and is used as one of the richest of its sources. Lycopine guards the body cells against the oxidants, which are associated with cancer. According to laboratory studies, lycopine is two times as active as beta-carotene in reducing the amount of free radicals. Individuals who include high amounts of tomato products to their eating patterns, have a decreased risk of exposure to a wide range of cancers, like esophageal, oral, colorectal, cervical, breast, pancreatic, stomach, lung, and prostate cancers.

History: US residents eat tomatoes more than any other veggies and fruits on a regular basis. Tomatoes compete with bananas, carrots, peas, lettuce, potatoes, and oranges, beating them indisputably.

Tomatoes are indigenous to America. Incas and Aztecs were first people to cultivate and gather tomatoes around 700 AD. Spanish colonists brought it from Central America and Mexico to Europe in the XVI century. The have quickly gained popularity in Italy, Portugal, Spain and other countries of the Mediterranean region.

These tomatoes were small-sized, similar to modern cherry species. Northern Europe was among the last regions to adopt tomatoes due to ignorance and fears. British residents considered it to be poisonous, while Germans called it “an apple of paradise”, and French named it “an apple of love”.

New Orleans residents adopted tomato as part of their diet in 1812, adding them to jambalayas and gumbos. Maine inhabitants used tomatoes in their own manner, mixing them with local seafood.

However, tomatoes got finally appreciated after another 50 years, when people started consuming them as food globally. By mid-XIX century tomato had become an essential product in every region of the US.

Nowadays there are many varieties of tomatoes, as follows:

  • Small, succulent cherry tomatoes, commonly added to salads;
  • Oval plum types, employed mainly for cooking aims;
  • Large tomatoes, which are widely used for any purpose;
  • Yellow or orange tomatoes, which contain less acids.

Choosing Right Tomatoes:

Tomatoes, gathered from your backyard, succulent and tasty, bear most of tomato benefits. The good ones can also be purchased from farmer markets, outside products stands and local farms when the season comes. They smell and taste good, in addition to being highly nutritive.

Tomatoes, which are grown for commercial purposes, are commonly picked up green and matured up artificially, using ethylene gas. People usually state they have no taste, no characteristic structure, and have less vitamins than tomatoes, grown in a natural way. To choose the right ones, smell the tomatoes. They’ll have a characteristic smell, if grown naturally, and won’t have it if matured artificially.

Used For: The range of conditions, in which tomato may be beneficial, includes:

  • Cancer prevention,
  • Prostate cancer prevention,
  • Decreases the risk of esophageal, oral, colorectal, cervical, breast, pancreatic, stomach, and lung cancers.
  • Prevents coronary artery disease;
  • Helps relieve hypertension;
  • Impedes diarrhea;
  • Relieves eye irritation;
  • Improves skin condition;
  • Treats sunburn;
  • Heals sores and wounds;
  • Energizes the body, eliminating weakness;
  • Improves liver activity.

Safety: Tomatoes can lead to heartburn and indigestion. Some people may develop allergy to tomatoes. Belonging to nightshade family, tomatoes are characteristic of containing a toxic agent named solanine. For this reason tomatoes may result in headaches in sensitive individuals.

Tomatoes very often lead to allergic reactions. An unknown component found in tomatoes and products made of them may trigger acid reflux, thus causing heartburn and indigestion. People, who are suffering from stomach cramps and disorders, should stop consuming tomatoes for 2-3 weeks, to define whether tomatoes are the reason.

There are lots of commercially produced condiments, like pickles, which include tomatoes, like Latin-American salsa, chutneys, pasta sauces, chili sauces, and ketchup. Most of them contain much salt, oil, and sugar. You should carefully examine the content before using them if you keep a diet with limited sodium intake.