10 Reasons to Eat Tomatoes Every Day

Tomatoes are not only a delicious food that are part of so many of our favourite meals. They are also one of the most undervalued superfoods around. They are considered a ‘functional food’, which means a food that goes beyond providing basic nutrition. And it’s no wonder, tomatoes have quite a resume. They are vitamin and nutrient packed and it is suggested they can help prevent and fight heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases. They are also thought to do wonders for skin and hair.

The list of vitamins and minerals in tomatoes is a long one. They provide our bodies with vitamins A, K, B1,B3, B5, B6, B7 and a huge dose of vitamin C. In addition, important minerals, such as folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, choline, zinc and phosphorous, are found in tomatoes.

 

So, here are 10 reasons to include tomatoes in your daily diet:

Heart Health

Many studies have been carried out using tomatoes in the diet and the varied results are astounding. Time and time again studies have shown that chemicals contained in tomatoes are hugely beneficial for heart health.

Tomato juice, because of it’s various phytonutrients, can reduce the risk of blood clots. The fibre, potassium, vitamin C and choline in tomatoes are all proven to support heart health. An increase in one’s potassium intake, interestingly, is thought to be as effective in reducing cardiovascular disease as a reduction in sodium(salt) intake. This is due to the fact that potassium reduces blood pressure.

One phytonutrient in tomatoes, which is mentioned repeatedly in preventing and combatting various illnesses and diseases, is lycopene. A study in the Harvard Health Letter suggests that a tomato-filled diet can help prevent stroke, due to the high lycopene content in tomatoes.

Blood Health (Diabetes)

In the fight against diabetes, lycopene has a serious role to play. Studies suggest that lycopene in tomatoes can help to restore biochemical balance in diabetics. Tomatoes are a good source of fibre, which has also been proven to help both type 1 and type two diabetes. For type 1, tests showed high-fibre consumption resulted in reduced blood sugar levels, and for type two, improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels were observed.

Bone Health

Tomatoes, which are high in various antioxidants, can strengthen bones by promoting a healthy ratio of calcium in the body. In addition to antioxidants helping bone strength, the rich lycopene content in tomatoes can help protect against the risk of a woman developing osteoporosis.

Prevention of Cancer

Many studies have been carried out with tomatoes and tomato extract that have shown anti-cancer benefits. This is because tomatoes are rich in many antioxidants that rid the body from cancer-causing toxins, free radicals and carcinogens. Tomatoes also have anti-inflammatory properties that can combat chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which can develop into various cancers.

Healthy Mind

The antioxidant-rich fruit has been studied in relation to oxidative stress, and it was found that this can have a huge impact on various diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases.

Healthy Skin & Hair

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin K, which has been proven to have significant benefits for healthy hair and skin. It is said to help with the growth and strength of hair as well as improving its appearance and texture. Tomatoes have been proven to improve the appearance of skin, in addition to fighting acne and preventing the damage of skin cells.

 

Lycopene & Cooking

Studies have been carried out on the effects heating and cooking tomatoes have on the chemical properties of tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are a better source of vitamin C, as the cooking process eliminates much of the vitamin. However, it has been found that the lycopene levels are dramatically raised by heating and cooking tomatoes. This is great news, as this beneficial phytochemical has been proven to prevent and fight cancer, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes a rich red colour, and is thought to have the highest antioxidant activity of all of the carotenoids.

So, it’s a no-brainer… get some tomatoes into your daily diet. They are nutritious, colourful and widely available. Whether your tomatoes are whole, chopped, cooked or made into a sauce, this disease-fighting superfood can inject delicious flavour to almost any dish!

 

All of our FeedThePulse SuperSauce Range are made with a tomato base; Tomato & Herb, Tomato & Chilli and Madras

And here are some of our suggested recipes made with tomatoes: Shepherd's Pie, Spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Curry Madras.

Sources:

 

Reading the Traffic: A Guide to Nutritional Labelling

We have started to think about what we put into our bodies more than ever before. Sometimes it seems as if the deeper you go down that rabbit hole of nutrition, the darker and more confusing it all gets. And it’s not so surprising, given that companies don’t want to splash their nutritional flaws across their packaging.

 

It’s important to find a way to cut through all of the noise and nonsense, and we believe the best way to do that is the 'traffic light system'. It is now compulsory for food products in the UK to have the traffic light front of pack labelling. Unfortunately, MEP’s rejected the traffic labels, so it is not a legal requirement to have the labels in green, orange and red in Ireland right now. This makes it a little more difficult to find the true nutritional value of the food we eat, but there are ways around that...

 

The Irish Heart Foundation have made a shopping card that can be carried around while you shop. The idea is fairly simple, green means low amounts of sugars, fats, saturates or salt, orange means a medium amount and red is a high amount. The numbers on the Food Shopping Card are based on 100g of the food.

 

 

How to Use the Food Shopping Card:

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  1. Check the nutrition information per 100g (for example; Our FeedThePulse Tomato & Herb SuperSauce contains 0.1g of saturates per 100g.)

  2. Compare this figure to the information for saturates on your Food Shopping Card.

  3. Our sauce is well under the 1.5g maximum for low levels of saturates and so is coded green.

 

It is important to note that not all labels are based on the same weight, and is definitely something to watch out for. An example of this is that many cereals base their front of pack labelling on a 30g serving, which means the amounts of sugar, fat, saturates and salt seems much smaller than it actually is.

 

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Sometimes you will have to look at the nutritional label at the back of the food package to find the 100g values. The Shopping Card makes eating healthily much easier, and gives you the opportunity to make an informed decision about the food you’re eating.

 

The whole thing is a bit of a maze, but now lots of charities have published articles about how to read food labelling, including the Irish Cancer Society, Diabetes Ireland, and of course Croi and The Irish Heart Foundation.

 

You have to think of the traffic light food guides like you would with real traffic lights. Would you break a red light? No, because it’s very dangerous, and you would be putting yourself in harm’s way. Well, the same goes for high sugar, salt, fats and saturates; although what we eat doesn’t seem too dangerous, over time it can really damage your health.

 

And then, what if we couldn’t see the red lights as we drove through them? It would be crazy. Right?

 

We should all be able to choose our food with full knowledge of how healthy they really are. The Food Shopping Card is available for free from The Irish Heart Foundation Website.