Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) is the berry of the nightshade family, which also happens to be one of the world’s most popular cooking ingredients. Many of us confuse the true nature of tomatoes; some say it’s a vegetable, while others say it’s a fruit. In truth, tomatoes are considered as fruits, however in terms of usage they are treated as vegetables.
Tomatoes are also known to possess an antioxidant named “lycopene”, which is linked to a minimized risk of heart disease and also cancer. These are more stuff that one should know about tomatoes, and not to forget the benefits of tomatoes and bodybuilding!
Nutrition Facts of Tomatoes
Serving Size – 1 cup (166 g)
- Water – 94.52 g (4.7% of DV)
- Calories – 18 kcal
- Total Fat – 0.20 g (0% of DV)
- Saturated Fat – 0.028 g (0% of DV)
- Polyunsaturated Fat – 0.031 g (0% of DV)
- Monounsaturated Fat – 0.083 g (0% of DV)
- Trans Fat – 0 g (0% of DV)
- Cholesterol – 0 g (0% of DV)
- Sodium – 9 mg (3.75% of DV)
- Total Carbohydrates – 3.89 g (1.3% of DV)
- Sugar – 2.63 g
- Dietary Fibre – 1.2 g (4.8% of DV)
- Protein – 0.88 g (0% of DV)
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A – 833 IU
- Vitamin B6 – 0.08 mg
- Vitamin B12 – 0 mcg
- Vitamin C – 13.7 mg
- Vitamin D – 0 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.54 mg
- Vitamin K – 7.9 mcg
- Calcium – 10 mg
- Iron – 0.27 mg
- Magnesium – 11 mg
- Phosphorus – 44 mg
- Benefits of Potassium – 237 mg
- Zinc – 0.17 mg
All the information above are in relation to a 2,000-calorie diet. The percentage of daily value (% of DV) may differ depending on personal calorie needs.
What are its Health Benefits?
- Tomatoes for Heart Health
First things first, the lycopene inside tomatoes release a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. In addition, consumption of tomato products such as tomato juice or fresh raw tomatoes also increase the numbers of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) as well as triglycerides inside our blood too!
2. Tomatoes for Cancer Prevention
Observational studies have found the link in between tomatoes themselves, tomato products like health benefits of tomato ketchup, and fewer incidences of prostate cancer, lung cancer and also stomach cancer.
The high lycopene content inside tomatoes is widely believed to be the main shield against all these, however more concrete observations are still needed.
Next, tomatoes are in fact very effective for skin treatment. Lycopene contains compounds that protects the skin from getting sunburnt.
One study has it that one can get sunburn at a rate of 40% lower when consuming 40 grams of tomato paste (with 16 grams of lycopene) plus olive oil every day for 10 weeks straight.
4. Tomatoes as Antioxidants
Tomatoes are exceptionally rich when it comes to antioxidants. And of all antioxidants, the most dominant inside tomatoes is the lycopene. Lycopene works mainly as a defender against cancer.
While then, one can see whether a tomato is rich or not in lycopene is through its colours; the redder it is the more lycopene it has.
5. Tomatoes Improve Vision
Vitamin A, which is possessed inside tomatoes at 833 IU according to the nutritional facts above is responsible for improving and maintaining vision, and also preventing the risks of night-blindness and macular degeneration.
Indeed, the same vitamin A is also an antioxidant that regularly cleanses the body from beta-carotenes!
6. Tomatoes Aid Digestion
Tomatoes are able to keep digestion up from diarrhea, jaundice and also constipation. It is possible thanks to the fibres present inside at 1.2 grams, or 4.8% of the recommended daily value.
7. Tomatoes for Effective Diabetes Management
According to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, daily consumption of tomatoes is also able to minimize the oxidative stress that belongs to type-2 diabetes.
8. Tomatoes Enhance Bodybuilding
And finally, here comes the main theme of this article! A new study conducted by the University of Iowa shows that protein powders and meat aren’t the only possible ways to gain muscle; but also tomatoes and apples!
Tomatoes in particular contains tomatidine, that prohibits the depletion of ATF4 protein. ATF4 protein is one reason to why the more we get older, the weaker our muscles are. While then, tomatidine increases and maintains muscle mass and strength!
Cautions and Recommendations
Tomato health benefits fruits overall are safe when orally consumed. However, that is not the case with tomato leaves, which is dangerous because it leads to poisoning. Symptoms of tomato leaf poisonings include severe throat and mouth irritation, dizziness, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, mild spasms, up to death in more rare cases.
And then, lycopene itself can act as a two-faced coin because despite being beneficial for health, they can also be hazardous too at times! Lycopene supplements are definitely prohibited for pregnant women, and for some it may trigger the existence of prostate cancer.
Lycopene should also be handled with care for patients who have stomach ulcers or other stomach issues. And then, lycopene should be avoided by people who have blood-related issues like low-blood pressure, and bleeding disorders because it increases the risk of bleeding. Other noted side effects of lycopene are chest pain, hot flashes, indigestion, and accumulation of fat underneath the skin.
How to Make Grilled Tomatoes
- 2 firm and ripe tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 thinly sliced basil leaves
- First, cut the tomatoes into half, and remove the watery pulp and health benefits of tomato seeds from it.
- Grill it cut-side down using a grill basket or a fine grill.
- Season the tomatoes with salt and black pepper.
- Brush the grill grate/grill pan and also both sides of the tomato using olive oil.
- Flip the tomatoes, and cover the grill to let it cook for 4 minutes.
- When done, use a spatula to lift the tomatoes into the plate.
- Finally, drizzle a bit more olive oil on the tomatoes, and sprinkle with a little bit more of salt, pepper, and basils.
- Grilled tomatoes are now ready to be served!