Tomatoes, tomatoes …
Did you know that there are thousands (at least 5000) different types of tomatoes? They are not always red, there are also orange or yellow tomatoes, and even white and dark purple. These are cultivated varieties, each with their own taste and characteristics. The tomato plant is originally from South America, Meso America where the ancestors of the Incas and Mayans grew small varieties. When the Spaniards conquered Mexico, the plant was already established there. The Spanish conquistadors sent plants with small yellow fruits, which in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs xitomatl, to Spain (the word is related to another Aztec word, namely xipotatl, the potato – compare the English potato and tomato ). When the plants were first brought to Europe by explorers, they were used as ornamental plants. Because the plant is related to the poisonous nightshade, the fruits were thought to be poisonous. (It is better not to eat the unripe, green tomatoes, as they contain some of the poisonous substance solanine. When ripe, the solanine disappears. (By the way, you do not die from a single green tomato, the amount of the poison is very small)). Around 1750 it was discovered in Italy and Provence that the yellow fruits, “pomo d’oro” (Italian for “golden apple”), were edible. By crossing and selecting the tomato got the red color and from 1850 it is a widely used vegetable in the European kitchen.
Is the tomato a vegetable or fruit?
Tomatoes were officially classified as vegetables by the US Supreme Court in 1893. There was discussion about whether the tomato was vegetable or fruit. Because there were different tax rates for those two cases, the interests were large enough to put the issue to court. Although the tomato is a fruit from the tomato plant, the popular fruit is culinary seen as a vegetable.
How to eat a tomato? And what are its health benefits?
You can eat tomatoes raw, cooked, baked, candied or dried. So rightly a versatile vegetable. We can fully process tomato in salads, soups or simply as a snack. It is best to keep them outside the fridge; At a temperature lower than 12 degrees Celsius, the quality becomes less.
- Tomatoes are effective against headaches and hangovers. The cause of headache and fatigue can be the acidity of your body. Tomatoes have an alkaline effect and can offer resistance.
- Tired? Eat a tomato! Provides a healthy boost.
- Tomatoes contain a good amount of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is also called provitamin A, because it is converted into vitamin A in your body. This substance is also a colorant and an antioxidant. Beta-carotene helps fight free radicals, keep your lungs healthy, etc.
- Tomato puree works against wrinkles and skin aging. However, it only has an effect if you eat 10 tablespoons of puree per day and add this to olive oil for a better absorption capacity. Various test subjects showed that the skin had become 30% better resistant to UV rays! It has also been found that the procollagen layer in the skin increased strongly. Procollagen is a protein that helps improve skin structure.
- The best part of a tomato is Lycopene. This is a natural pigment that gives a tomato its red color. It is known as a powerful antioxidant! The redder a tomato, the greater the amount of lycopene. Research has shown that people with a low level of lycopene were more at risk of having a heart attack or stroke than people with a higher level of lycopene. Tomatoes are also rich in potassium; a mineral that has a blood pressure lowering effect. This is an important mineral if your blood pressure is raised, because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases.
- Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C. This vitamin contributes to a well-functioning immune system. Furthermore, vitamin C contributes to healthy skin, the absorption of plant based iron and keeps your bones and teeth strong.
- Tomato puree / sauce is healthier than fresh tomatoes. Cooking your food usually is accompanied by a loss of nutrients, but the amount of lypocene is increased with tomatoes. If you combine tomatoes with a small amount of healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado, your body will absorb the lycopene better.
- Eating tomatoes can help you keep your bowel movements healthy and prevent constipation. This is because tomatoes contain a lot of moisture and fiber. The combination of these two ensures that your stools get more volume and remain flexible.Voedingsstoffen in de tomaten
Tomatoes contain a lot of vitamin C, carotenes, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin B6 and the minerals potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. The tomato contains a dye, namely lycopene, which can protect human cells against the harmful effects of nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen oxides are found in tobacco smoke and exhaust gases, among other things. Lycopene may also play a role in cancer protection. It belongs to the plant dyes known as the so-called carotenoids. Tomatoes were advertised as an aphrodisiac, hence the nickname “pommes d’amour” in French.
The ripe fruit may be healthy, but this is in contrast to the rest of the plant, which is toxic: the plant belongs to the genus nightshade. Despite the various benefits that tomatoes offer, it is advisable to eat them in moderation if you are sensitive to vegetables from this nightshade family. There is a chance that you are sensitive to the lectins contained in tomato. The French remove the seeds and the skin from the tomato to avoid the largest concentration of lectins. If you eat a lot of tomato or have a sensitive digestion, it is advisable to do this too. The toxin in this plant is called tomatine; it is a glyco-alkaloid. The substance is produced by the plant as a defense against all kinds of pathogens and is also toxic to humans. When the fruit ripens, the toxins disappear from this, making the fruit edible but also more sensitive to fungi and bacteria.
Finally, a nice old “Dutch tongue breaker”: