Tomatoes are plentiful all year round, and they make a healthy addition to a well-balanced meal plan. Tomatoes are easy to incorporate into your diet and can be used in salads, in sandwiches or sliced for a nutritious snack.
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You can easily grow tomatoes in your garden and use them to make pasta sauce anytime of the year. There are a wide range of vitamins and minerals in tomatoes, which help support your health in a myriad of ways.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, a nutrient that supports your immune system. People who get adequate amounts of vitamin C have bodies that are better able to fight off illness, from the common cold to other more acute illnesses.
In fact, people who pump up their vitamin C intake when they start to feel sick often heal more quickly and experience a lower degree of symptoms.
A cup of chopped tomatoes contains nearly 25 milligrams of this vital nutrient.
Calcium is a nutrient that is necessary for strong and healthy bones and teeth. While tomatoes aren’t as high in the nutrient as some other foods, including them in your diet certainly contributes. A cup of tomatoes adds 18 milligrams of this vital nutrient to your daily intake. Combine the tomatoes with cheese for a bigger boost to your intake.
Many people don’t recognize the importance of potassium in their diets. This nutrient helps regulate your blood pressure, and a deficiency can lead to chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.
Potassium deficiencies are fairly uncommon, but it pays to make sure you’re getting as much as you should on a daily basis. A cup of tomatoes will add an impressive 427 milligrams to your daily quota.
The assumption that carbs cause weight gain is a faulty one, to some degree. The body needs a certain amount of carbs just to function. Carbs are your body’s main source of energy so skimping can lead to fatigue and lethargy.
The idea is to choose good sources of carbs, like those in tomatoes, over the bad carbs which are found in soda, desserts and refined grains. A cup of tomatoes contains about seven grams of carbs, which is a healthy addition to your diet. Adding them to salads further increases your carb intake. You’ll feel energetic without having to worry about weight gain.
Vitamin A is another nutrient that plays a role in the health of your immune system. There are 1,500 IU of vitamin A in a single cup of chopped tomatoes. Vitamin A is also important for healthy gums and teeth. It is possible to get too much vitamin A, which can be toxic, so it’s important to make sure you aren’t supplementing with vitamin tablets if you’re getting plenty from your diet.
Antioxidants are plant compounds that help fight free radical damage. This helps prevent oxidation in your body, which can prevent the development of a wide range of diseases and illnesses. That could be anything from heart disease to cancer.
A diet rich in antioxidants is associated with a lower incidence of many health problems and fruits and vegetables are a prime source of them. Tomatoes are particularly high in antioxidants, making them a great choice for a well-balanced diet.
Lycopene is a specific antioxidant, which research shows has been linked to the reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer. It can be found in other foods, but tomatoes are one of the best sources of the antioxidant.
Vitamin K isn’t needed in large quantities, but it is necessary for a couple of reasons. It helps properly clot blood, and new research shows that it may also contribute to healthy bones. A cup of tomatoes contains a healthy 14 micrograms of vitamin K, making it an ideal addition to your meal plan.
You need fiber because it helps regulate digestion and helps lower cholesterol to prevent heart disease. A cup of tomatoes contains more than two grams.
There are many ways to eat tomatoes, giving you plenty of options when it comes to including them in your diet. The most obvious way is to toss them into salads or slice them and put them on sandwiches.
However, you can also add chopped tomatoes to cottage cheese, omelets or casseroles. They don’t have such an intense flavor that they change the overall taste of a dish, but they do add a pleasant tartness to many things. You can also try it in soup or potato dishes.
There is nothing wrong with eating plain tomatoes either. With no fat and very few calories, tomatoes are the perfect food for anyone.