A glossy red, or occasionally yellow, pulpy edible fruit which is eaten as a vegetable or in salad.The South American plant of the nightshade family which produces the tomato. It is widely grown as a cash crop and many varieties have been developed.
Whether you refer to a tomato as a fruit or a vegetable, there is no doubt that a tomato is a nutrient-dense, super-food that most people should be eating more of.Despite the popularity of the tomato, only 200 years ago it was thought to be poisonous in the U.S., likely because the plant belongs to the nightshade family, of which some species are truly poisonous.
The tomato has been referred to as a "functional food," a food that goes beyond providing just basic nutrition. Due to their beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene, tomatoes also play a role in preventing chronic disease and deliver other health benefits.
As an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.Beta-carotene consumption has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Maintaining a low sodium intake helps to keep blood pressure healthy; however, increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.
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