Tomatoes are an incredibly healthful food. They’re rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. And they’re one of few fruits that contain lycopene, a carotenoid that can help prevent cancer.
The tomato is a fruit that belongs to the Solanaceae family, which also includes eggplants, potatoes and bell peppers. Tomatoes are available in an array of colors, including red, and yellow. The red ones contain the most vitamin C and lycopene, while the yellow ones have more beta-carotene.
But there are other surprising benefits of tomatoes you may not know about. Here are five of the most surprising:
- Weight Loss: Tomatoes are rich in fiber, which helps keep you full longer than other fruits or vegetables do — so it’s easier to stay on track with your diet if you eat them often.
- Cancer Prevention: Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their red color — but it’s also known for its cancer-fighting benefits. Research suggests that lycopene may protect against some types of cancers by blocking the growth of new blood vessels needed by tumors to grow larger and more invasive.
- Immunity Boost: Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, which helps support the immune system and boost overall health. Vitamin C helps fight colds and flu by boosting the body’s ability to fight off infections by strengthening white blood cells called neutrophils, which help fight infection in the body.
- Boosts Heart Health: Tomatoes contain high amounts of antioxidants called carotenoids, especially lycopene which has been shown to improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels.
- Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels: Tomatoes contain large amounts of soluble fiber which slows down digestion and helps control blood sugar levels after meals by slowing down absorption of carbohydrates