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You say tomato…

There are many health benefits to the ubiquitous tomato.

Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, an antioxidant, which gives the fruit it’s vivid colour. As well as lycopene, they also contain various other plant compounds, including beta-carotene, narigenin and chlorogenic acid.

Lycopene is good for your eyes and that’s not the only peeper-protective nutrient in tomatoes; they contain lutein and beta-carotene as well. 

According to research, those nutrients support vision and protect against eye conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration.

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment which adds colour to plants and is converted into vitamin A, which is good for healthy skin and our immune system in low levels. 

Tomatoes are also filled with vitamins such as Vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

The amount of vitamins found in a tomato can vary greatly between plants, but the average medium size tomato should provide almost 30% percent of your recommended daily dose of Vitamin C.

There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against  free radical damage to cells.

Favour cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimise your body’s absorption and use. 

Other foods supplying lycopene, and similar protective phyto-nutrients include papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruit. 

According to health.com, tomatoes may be a protective food for people with type 2 diabetes: In one study, people with diabetes who supplemented with cooked tomatoes for 30 days experienced a decrease in lipid peroxidation, a chain reaction in which those pesky free radicals attack fat, leading to damage that can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. 

To make tomatoes count as one of your five-a-day, the NHS recommends eating one medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes as one portion.