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Health Matters: Health benefits of eating tomatoes

Health Care 03 Feb, 2021 Follow News

Health Matters: Health benefits of eating tomatoes

Cayman’s climate is particularly conducive to growing tomatoes especially during the cooler months. They are an easy fruit (yes, they are classified as a fruit, even though we think of them as a vegetable!) to grow in your backyard, in particular small varieties such as Tiny Tim and Small Fry, which are quite forgiving if you forget to water for a day or two.

At the Farmer’s Market in Camana Bay, which runs on Wednesdays from 10am, you will see a whole kaleidoscope of coloured tomatoes, an exciting sight for home cooks and restaurant chefs alike, because as everybody knows, the taste of a home grown tomato is incomparable to one that’s had to be refrigerated to get here.

There have been numerous studies into the benefits of eating these juicy little fruits, in particular, the benefits that the lycopene in a tomato can bring to the body. Lycopene is one of four carotenoids, or anti-oxidants, that can protect the body from disease and also boost immune systems.

Lycopene in the diet has been linked to a reduction in cancer in some studies, for example one by The University of Montreal that found a diet high in lycopene (which you can get in the main from eating tomatoes) was linked to a 31 per cent reduction in pancreatic cancer in men.

In fact, tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene and together they interact to work to help boost health. One study in France found the health benefits from consuming carotenoids from tomatoes were enhanced when people ate the skins of the tomatoes as well as their flesh, so don’t peel tomatoes for maximum health benefits. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C and potassium, two other important components for good health.

Tomatoes are eaten plentifully in Mediterranean countries and make up a large part of the Mediterranean diet.According to a study by The University of Athens Medical School, people who most closely follow the Mediterranean diet have lower death rates from heart disease and cancer. This research appears to be backed up by a Harvard School of Public Health study, which found that eating oil and tomato-based products was associated with cardiovascular benefits.

So, the next time you are at the Farmer’s Market in Camana Bay, or at Foster’s, Hurley’s or Kirk Market, or better still, tending your plants in the backyard, make sure you give a wide variety of tomatoes a try.


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