Tomatoes … sweet, juicy, delicious and, most of all, healthy! Low in calories, no fat and rich in vitamins. What you could want more from a vegetable? Although tomatoes remind us of Italian cuisine, they come from South America. Tomatoes were grown in Mexico when the “conquistadors” who came immediately after Columbus discovered the “New World” found the tomatoes and brought them to Spain and across Europe. Tomatoes have gained more popularity in the nineteenth century. Today, tomatoes are among the best-selling vegetables in the world. Among the largest producers are Russia, Italy, Spain, Turkey, China. The French call the tomato “pomme d’amour”, which means “apple of love” since it initially was thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. Italians call it “pomodoro” meaning “golden apple” because tomato species which were first planted were yellow. Here are ten reasons why tomatoes are a healthy choice for your diet.

1. Healthy source of vitamins and fiber

Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A, C, K, B6, folic acid and potassium. They are also low in saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories. In addition, tomatoes contain thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Not to mention the fact that they are a healthy source of fiber and water. One cup of fresh tomatoes will provide 57.3% of the daily dose of vitamin C, 22.4% of the daily recommended dose for vitamin A and 7.9% of the daily dose of fiber. Also, the same cup of fresh tomatoes will provide 11.4% of the daily dose of potassium, 5.6% of the daily dose for niacin, 7.0% of the daily dose for B6 and 6.8% of the daily dose of folic acid.

2. Make your skin look healthy

Beta-carotene in tomatoes (a substance also found in sweet potatoes and carrots) protects the skin from the harmful sun ray. Lycopene also make the skin less sensitive to UV rays, thus preventing premature wrinkles.

3. Make your bone stronger

Tomatoes take care of our bones, making them stronger. Vitamin K and calcium help strengthen the bones. Lycopene also improves the quality of bone mass and prevents osteoporosis. So, women after 40, who are more prone to osteoporosis, should include tomatoes in a balanced diet.

4. Tomatoes fight against cancer

We come back to the same amazing substance in tomatoes: lycopene. It protects against cancerous cells (located in prostate, cervix, ovary, mouth, throat, neck, esophagus, stomach, colon). The antioxidants inside tomatoes help fight free radicals that damage cells. The great properties of lycopene are enhanced especially when consumed with foods rich in fat, such as avocado or olive oil (carotenoids are soluble in fats, which means they are absorbed into the body along with fats).

5. Regulates blood sugar

Chromium intake by eating tomatoes helps maintain an optimal level of glucose in the body. That doesn’t mean you can eat all the sweets you want if you add some tomatoes to your diet. Balance is the key.

6. Protection of eye sight

Vitamin A in tomatoes helps improve vision (especially at night). Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of tomatoes reduces the risk of macular degeneration.

7. Help your hair stay beautiful

Not only the skin benefits from all the substances inside tomatoes, but also your hair. Vitamin A strengthens the hair and makes it shiny. Add a homemade mask to your beauty ritual for the hair and you will never need dietary supplements ever again.

8. Keep the gallbladder and kidneys healthy

Tomatoes prevent kidney stones and gall bladder malfunctioning. Recent studies reveal that people who eat seedless tomatoes are less prone to kidney stones and gall bladder problems.

9. Reduce pain

The carotenoids and flavonoids in tomatoes have incredible inflammatory properties. Consequently, they diminish pain, including back and those caused by arthritis.

10. Lose Weight

Tomato based snacks help you stay in shape. The water and fibers inside it make a tomato a great snack, contributing to satiety. You will feel full for longer without adding fat and other calories to your diet.

Tomatoes can be easily included in a diet in many forms: in sandwiches, in salads, in omelettes, in stews, baked, tomato sauce, salsa or tomato juice. No matter how you choose to consume tomatoes, you’ll know you’re making a healthy choice.