Tomatoes are a favorite food of many and are great on their own, in a salad, or accompanying any meal. Although technically a fruit, most people – including chefs – categorize tomatoes as a vegetable. Tomatoes grow on a vine that often reaches ten feet in length.
Benefits of Eating Tomatoes
In the distant past tomatoes were thought to be toxic in nature and a contributing factor in the development of conditions such as cancer, brain fever, and appendicitis. Research, however, has shown evidence to the contrary.
Tomatoes have been found to be rich in vitamin A, containing 15% of the daily requirement, and vitamin C, with some 40% of your daily requirement. These vitamins, also called antioxidants, are known to fight off the effects of free-radicals, known to cause cell damage in the body.
Tomatoes are an excellent food for aiding in vision improvement due to its high concentration of vitamin A. Tomatoes also contain a high amount of chromium which has been proven to be helpful in controlling your body’s blood sugar level. Thus, diabetics will certainly benefit from consuming tomatoes.
The presence of potassium and vitamin B help to lower high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This will aid in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
Tomatoes also have high levels of lycopene, which is a compound that behaves in a similar manner as an antioxidant, making it another free-radical fighter. Studies have shown that consuming about 1 1/2 servings of tomatoes weekly can lead to a lowered risk of prostate cancer development.
There are many variants of tomatoes and each provides the benefits listed above and more. Here are the five most common types of tomatoes.
These are your standard variant of tomatoes and are often referred to as Beefsteak tomatoes or Slicing tomatoes. They are easily identifiable because they are large, round, and red. They can also weigh up to two pounds.
These tomatoes belong to the Cluster variant. Cherry tomatoes tend to be just about the same size as a cherry, but they are much sweeter and juicier than the larger varieties, such as Globe tomatoes.
This variety is gaining in popularity with gourmet chefs. This is because Heirloom tomatoes come in a large variety of shapes and colors. Their biggest downfall is that they tend to remain ripe for a very short period of time.
Also known as plum tomatoes, they are the least juicy of all tomatoes. Because they are thick and contain fewer seeds than other tomato variants, Roma tomatoes are a favorite for pasta sauces.
Another member of the Cluster tomato variant, Pear tomatoes get their name from their shape, which resembles a pear. They are only the size of a Cherry tomato, but without the high juice levels