Tomatoes & Everything You Need To Know

Everything you need to know about tomatoes

A tomato is a nutrient-dense superfood that offers benefit to a range of bodily systems. Its nutritional content supports healthful skin, weight loss, and heart health.

Despite the popularity of tomatoes, it was only 200 years ago that they were thought to be poisonous in the United States (U.S.) This is likely to be because the plant belongs to the toxic nightshade family.

Tomatoes are now the fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions. This article will examine their powerful health benefits, nutritional content, ways to include more tomatoes in the diet, and the risks of tomato consumption.

Fast facts on tomatoes

  • Including tomatoes in the diet can help protect against cancer, maintain healthy blood pressure, and reduce blood glucose in people with diabetes.
  • Tomatoes contain key carotenoids such as lutein and lycopene. These can protect the eye against light-induced damage.
  • Eat more tomatoes by adding them to wraps or sandwiches, sauces, or salsas. Alternatively, eat them cooked or stewed, as these preparation methods can boost the availability of key nutrients.
  • Tomatoes are in the top ten fruits and vegetables for containing levels of pesticide residue. Wash tomatoes before eating.

 

Benefits

Tomatoes close up

Tomatoes have extremely high nutritional density.
Image credit: unique_capture, own work

Tomatoes are an intensely nutritious plant food.

The benefits of consuming different types of fruit and vegetable are impressive, and tomatoes are no different. As the proportion of plant foods in the diet increases, the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer decreases.

There are different types and sizes of tomato, and they can be prepared in different ways. These include cherry tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, raw tomatoes, soups, juices, and purees.

The health benefits can vary between types. For example, cherry tomatoes have higher beta-carotene content than regular tomatoes.

High fruit and vegetable intake is also linked to healthy skin and hair, increased energy, and lower weight. Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.

1) Cancer

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. With these components, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause cancer.

A recent study in the journal Molecular Cancer Research linked the intake of high levels of beta-carotene to the prevention of tumor development in prostate cancer.

Tomatoes also contain lycopene. Lycopene is a polyphenol, or plant compound, that has been linked with one type of prostate cancer prevention. It also gives tomatoes their characteristic red color.

Tomato products provide 80 percent of dietary lycopene consumed in the U.S.

A study of the Japanese population demonstrates that beta-carotene consumption may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer.

Further human-based research is needed to explore the possible roles of lycopene and beta-carotene in preventing or treating cancer.

2) Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake helps to maintain healthful blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important due to its widening effects on the arteries.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet the recommended daily potassium intake of 4,700 milligrams (mg).

High potassium and low sodium intake are also associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of dyingfrom all causes.

3) Heart health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and choline content in tomatoes all support heart health.

An increase in potassium intake, along with a decrease in sodium intake, is the most important dietary change the average person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tomatoes also contain folate. This helps to balance homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that results from protein breakdown. It is said to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The management of homocysteine levels by folate reduces one of the risk factors for heart disease.

Not only is high potassium intake also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but it is also known for protecting the muscles against deterioration, preserving bone mineral density, and reducing the production of kidney stones.

4) Diabetes

Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, while people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams (g) of fiber.

The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming around 25 g of fiber per day for women and an estimated 38 g per day for men.

5) Constipation

Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber, such as tomatoes, may help hydration and support normal bowel movements. Tomatoes are often described as a laxative fruit.

Fiber adds bulk to stool and is helpful for reducing constipation. However, removing fiber from the diet has also demonstrated a positive impact on constipation.

More research is needed to confirm the laxative qualities of tomatoes.

6) Eye health

Tomatoes protect eyes

Tomatoes can help protect the eyes from light damage.

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene. These are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to protect the eyes against light-induced damage, the development of cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) recently found that people with high dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, both present in tomatoes, had a 35 percent reduction in the risk of neovascular AMD.

7) Skin

Collagen is an essential component of the skin, hair, nails, and connective tissue.

The production of collagen in the body is reliant on vitamin C. A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. As vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, a low intake is associated with increased damage from sunlight, pollution, and smoke.

This can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, blemishes, and other adverse health effects of the skin.

8) Pregnancy

Adequate folate intake is essential before and during pregnancy to protect against neural tube defects in infants.

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. It is available in supplements but can also be boosted through dietary measures.

While it is recommended that women who are pregnant take a folic acid supplement, tomatoes are a great source of naturally-occurring folate. This applies equally for women who may become pregnant in the near future.

 

Nutrition

Tomatoes are packed with nutrients.

One cup of chopped or sliced raw tomatoes contains:

Tomatoes also have a wealth of vitamin and mineral content, including:

  • 18 mg of calcium
  • 427 mg of potassium
  • 43 mg of phosphorus
  • 24.7 mg of vitamin C
  • 1499 international units (IU) of vitamin A

Tomatoes also contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including:

  • alpha-lipoic acid
  • lycopene
  • choline
  • folic acid
  • beta-carotene
  • lutein

The cooking of tomatoes appears to increase the availability of key nutrients, such as the carotenoids lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Stewed tomatoes provide more lutein and zeaxanthin than sun-dried tomatoes and raw cherry tomatoes.

 

Diet

There are easy ways to include the nutritional value of tomatoes in any diet.

Be sure to store fresh tomatoes at room temperature and avoid refrigeration, as this causes tomatoes to lose their flavor.

Incorporate more tomatoes into the diet using the following tips:

  • Dip grape or cherry tomatoes in hummus or plain yogurt dip and consume them as a side or a snack.
  • Add sliced tomato to sandwiches and wraps.
  • Add diced, low-sodium canned tomatoes to homemade or jarred marinara sauces when making pasta.
  • Used canned, diced, or stewed tomatoes in soups.
  • Eat a piece of toast with avocado and tomato slices.
  • Make a quick salsa with diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime.
  • Dice fresh tomatoes and add them to rice and beans, quesadillas, or tacos. Add them to omelets or scrambles for breakfast.
  • Drizzle freshly sliced tomatoes and sliced mozzarella with balsamic vinegar, and top with chopped basil.
  • Make a bruschetta as an appetizer.

A variety of tomato products are available to purchase online.

 

Risks

Wash tomatoes before eating.

Wash tomatoes before eating.

Including tomatoes in the diet has certain risks.

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue. These foods are known as the Dirty Dozen.

For 2017, tomatoes are number 10 and cherry tomatoes number 14 on the list. Though it has not been proven that eating organic foods has overall health benefits, the EWG suggests that people should buy organic tomatoes where possible.

Buying organic minimizes pesticide exposure, though this has not been definitively proven to prevent disease.

Michael B. Jordan Takes Us Through His Day

For Research Purposes: Michael B. Jordan Walks Us Through A Day In His Life

  By Bossip Staff From Bossip

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence

Michael B. Jordan Takes Us On A Trip Through A Day In His Life

If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly what Michael B. Jordan does with his every waking moment, today is your lucky day. The Black Panther and Creed star sat down with Vanity Fair to break down just how he spends his 24 hours, even down to answering his overflowing inbox of text messages.

Whether you’re looking to better organize your own life or you want to know MBJ’s life as closely as possible so you can have something to talk about if you ever bump into him on the street, one thing is for certain–hearing everything this man accomplishes over the span of just one day will make most of us feel like we need to be more productive.

The actor starts his day by waking up at 5am, which already lets you know how productive the rest of his day is going to be. He also mentions that he generally sleeps around 4 hours a night.

Jordan gives himself some time in the morning to hit snooze for a couple minutes, then starts off the day by taking a shower and getting in some meditation.

After that, Michael is eating breakfast by 7am, and describes his ideal meal as one that consists of hashbrowns, breakfast tomatoes, home fries, turkey sausage, cheese grits, an english muffin, a bacon-egg-and-cheese croissant, and possibly some pancakes…yeah, this man is eating BREAKFAST breakfast.

It’s probably no surprise that after breakfast, Jordan heads to the gym…and then showers all over again.

Next, he’s dressed and out the door to talk a walk and getting something for lunch around 2pm. After that, he carves out some time to answer his almost 300 unread text messages.

He follows this up with another workout then filling his time with some reading, video game playing, or other “break” activities. The actor gets his dinner in at 6pm before rounding out the night relaxing and spending some time with himself.

Here all of that and more from Michael himself in his video with Vanity Fair below.

Gold Chains In The NBA

GOLD CHAINS IN THE NBA: FROM DR J TO CHOCOLATE THUNDER TO MJ

David Astramskas From BallsLife.com

NBA 

Michael Jordan was the first player to challenge the NBA and wear whatever shoes he wanted even if it meant a $5,000 per game fine. As a result of Jordan’s defiance and Nike’s marketing, the majority of players in the league now wear Nike and Jordan shoes.

In 1989, he was the first player to have his own custom longer shorts made. As a result, shorts became longer and the John Stockton shorts became extinct – although Chris Douglas-Roberts wants to resurrect them.

One fashion accessory Jordan wasn’t able to keep popular was the gold chain.

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But unlike the black shoes and longer shorts, MJ wasn’t the first basketball player to make some noise with gold chains. Legends like Wilt and Dr J wore them in games but it was our friend Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins, who used to wear a few, with charms(!), that got the gold chain banned from games.

Darryl-Dawkins

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As cool as Dr J looked in the pic above, could you imagine how dangerous a gold chain around a neck could be in a situation like this?

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As a result, Dr J’s successor couldn’t wear his gold chains in a regular season game so he used All-Star weekend and the dunk contest to make a fashion statement.

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Jordan and Dr J both lost to Dominique Wilkins in the 1985 dunk contest but MJ and his gold chains would return and win 2 years later in the 87 Wilkin-less (Gerald doesn’t count) contest.

Jordan didn’t wear any jewelry when he “beat” Nique the following year in the infamous 88 Showdown in Chicago but Kenny Skywalker would bring the chain back a year after in his impressive and emotional dunk contest win in 1989.

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After that, the gold chain movement died on the court and even off the court in hip-hop: Slick Rick went to jail, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane hung them up, Chuck D and other rappers traded in their gold chains for African medallions and then rappers eventually upgraded their “bling” to platinum and diamonds.

As for trendsetter Michael Jordan, he didn’t upgrade his jewelry to platinum but his ring collection got a lot bigger during these years.

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10 Minute Best Arm Workout

The Best 10-Minute Sundress Arm Workout

We love toning our arms anytime and anywhere. And with spring starting, we’re feeling motivated to sculpt our upper bodies! Strong arms can make you feel extra confident. They help you lift your kids, hug your girlfriends, raise that glass of vino to your lips and rock strappy sundresses.

This 10-minute arm-toning workout is the perfect routine for any occasion. Pair it with your favorite cardio workout, do it before a night out with your girlfriends or squeeze it in anytime you need a quick toning session. Be sure to pick a set of dumbbells that allows you to maintain great form to protect yourself from injury. For more tips on form, choosing your weights and toning your upper body, check out this post. And remember to always refuel those muscles with plenty of protein. We’ll be sippin’ on Tone It Up Protein smoothies all spring long.

For more amazing workouts, join us in class at Studio Tone It Up. The Studio Tone It Up app offers dance cardio, HIIT, kickboxing and tons more fitness classes that will sculpt every inch of your gorgeous body — and just in time for warm weather. Curious? Download Studio Tone It Up from the App Store here!

Ready for the workout? Go through three rounds of each exercise (15 reps per move).

Forward Raise: Tones your shoulders!

(Image: Tone It Up)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold your dumbbells in each hand in front of your thighs with your palms facing down. Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder level, then slowly lower back down. Do 15 reps.

Biceps Curl: Sculpts your biceps!

(Image: Tone It Up)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold your dumbbells in each hand in front of your thighs with your palms facing up. Curl the weights toward your shoulders. Lower your arms back down with control. Do 15 reps.

Shoulder Press: Tones your shoulders!

(Image: Tone It Up)

Stand tall and hold your dumbbells in each hand with your palms facing forward. Raise your arms so that your elbows are at shoulder height — this is your starting position. Press the weights overhead then slowly lower to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Plank Row to Press: Sculpts your triceps, shoulders and core!

(Image: Tone It Up)

Start in high plank position with your wrists directly below your shoulders. With a dumbbell in your right hand, raise your right elbow to your torso, keeping your arm close to your body. Then twist your upper body to the right and press your right arm overhead. Slowly reverse the motion and bring the dumbbell back to the ground. Do 15 reps on each side.

Kneeling Triceps Push-Up: Sculpts your triceps!

(Image: Tone It Up)

Start in high plank position with your wrists below your shoulders. Rest your knees on the mat. Keeping your core engaged, bend at the elbows and lower your chest toward the mat until your arms make 90-degree angles. Keep your elbows as close to your torso as possible (don’t allow them to flare out to the side). Push through your palms to straighten your arms. Do 15 reps.

What Do YOU Think?

When it comes to weight training, do you make your arms a priority? What are some of your favorite arm-toning exercises? Will you be trying this workout? Let us know in the comments section.