The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a nutritious fruit, more widely known as a vegetable. There are many different varieties of tomato plants and most produce red fruit, but there are also tomato plants that produce yellow, orange, pink, purple, green and white fruit.
Fruit or Vegetable?
An interesting aspect of tomato history is the classic debate: Is the Tomato a Fruit or Vegetable? The confusion about 'fruit' and 'vegetable' arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. True fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant (though cultivated forms may be seedless).
So, Is a tomato a fruit or veggie? A tomato is the fruit of the tomato plant, but can be used as a vegetable in cooking. Tomatoes are members of the fruit family, but they are served and prepared as a vegetable. This is why most people consider them a vegetable and not a fruit. In addition they have Seeds.
A matter of legal importance
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Until the late 1800's the tomato was classified as a fruit to avoid taxation, but this was changed after a Supreme Court ruling that the tomato is a vegetable and should be taxed accordingly. In 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are vegetables and not fruits. Tomatoes have been designated the state vegetable of New Jersey. Arkansas took both sides by declaring the "South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato" to be both the state fruit and the state vegetable in the same law, citing both its culinary and botanical classifications. In 2009, the Ohio passed a law making the tomato the state's official fruit. Tomato juice has been the official beverage of Ohio since 1965. A.W. Livingston, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, played a large part in popularizing the tomato in the late 1800s.
Tomatoes are rich in calcium and potassium, and contain vitamins A, C, E, and are naturally low in calories. Tomato varieties are available with double the normal vitamin C (Doublerich), 40 times normal vitamin A (97L97), high levels of anthocyanin (P20 Blue), and two to four times the normal amount of lycopene (numerous available cultivars with the high crimson gene).
What is Lycopene?
Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits & vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). Although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. Lycopene is part of the family of pigments called carotenoids, which are natural compounds that create the colors of fruits and vegetables. Lycopene is reputed to lower the risk of heart disease. The scientists believe that lycopene neutralizes free radicals that are formed when UV radiation strikes the skin. These free radicals have been linked to cancer and the effects of aging. Cooked tomatoes have higher concentrations of lycopene than non-cooked tomatoes. The lycopenes in tomatoes have also been found to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men who eat tomatoes several times each week.
The antioxidants found in tomatoes can prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and adhering to the blood vessel walls, which would raise blood pressure. Lycopene has also been shown to improve the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays. Tomatoes are very rich in potassium, which have a positive effect on the kidneys. Natural genetic variation in tomatoes and their wild relatives has also given a genetic treasure trove of genes that produce carotene and anthocyanin.
Tomatoes and hypertension
Tomato extract helps reduce blood pressure. Tomatoes are high in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), a compound that can help lower blood pressure.
Health Benefits of Tomato
+ help bring down blood pressure
+ protect skin against ultraviolet (UV) rays
+ stave off the effects of aging
+ have a positive effect on the kidneys
+ may decrease risk of breast cancer, head and neck cancers
+ lower the risk of heart disease
+ might be strongly protective against neurodegenerative diseases
+ lowering LDL or "bad" cholesterol
Potassium vs Sodium
Tomatoes are also high in potassium but very low in sodium which means they help combat high blood pressure and fluid retention. Many people know that high sodium intake may lead to hypertension. Approximately 10 percent of people with high blood pressure are sensitive to dietary salt (or sodium). A reduction in sodium helps lower blood pressure in all people with hypertension. If buying canned tomatoes choose varieties without added sodium. Many processed tomato products have added sugars and salt, and some can be surprising sources of fat and sodium. Eating equal amounts of sodium and potassium is recommended.
Tomatoes Recipes for Hypertension
+ Drinking tomato juice is a great way to enjoy tomatoes. Make sure it's a pure juice with no added salt or sugar. If you make your own tomato juice, you can add celery which is another food that is shown to lower blood pressure. It is better to make your own fresh juice so that you can control the sodium. Store bought juices can be high in sugar and sodium-based preservatives.
+ You can also add tomato to your salad.
In addition to Tomato, there are several ways to prevent high blood pressure (Hypertension), Read more: How To Lower High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Naturally