What are the health benefits of eating tomatoes?


Quick Answer

A major health benefit of eating tomatoes is that they provide all four major carotenoids, including lycopene and potassium, according to WebMD. Of the carotenoids, lycopene is thought to be the most beneficial and have the highest antioxidant action, and potassium is a mineral many people have trouble getting enough of in their diets. Other health benefits of tomatoes include a reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, recent studies suggest that a diet rich in tomatoes can prevent pancreatic cancer, states WebMD. One research study suggested that lycopene, mainly derived from tomatoes, was linked to a 31 percent lower chance of men developing pancreatic cancer, when comparing men with the highest and lowest intakes of lycopene. Also, people who followed a Mediterranean-inspired diet, which included large amounts of tomatoes, were shown to be less likely to die from heart disease and cancer. Researchers concluded that pizza and tomato sauce were the main contributors to the participant's cardiovascular health.

Mothers who are breastfeeding also experience an increased concentration of lycopene in their breast milk when they consume it in their diets, according to WebMD. In one particular case, the highest increase came from cooked tomatoes rather than raw ones. Also, the amount of lycopene in a mother's milk increased more when consuming tomato sauce than when eating a raw tomato.

Finally, when eaten alongside healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil, tomatoes increased the body's absorption off its carotenoid phytochemicals between two and 15 times, states WebMD.

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