Everybody knows what a tomato is.  It is a fruit of the tomato plant which originated from South America.  It is widely cultivated for its edible, glossy red or yellow fruit that people eat as a vegetable or salad.

Tomatoes are a part of almost every dish anywhere in the world for their ability to add flavor to food.  But aside from this, they also carry important substances that are beneficial to your health.

These include a large number of antioxidants which play a big role in protecting your cells from damage brought by free radicals.  Health experts have pointed to free radicals as the cause of premature aging and certain forms of cancer.

Tomatoes are also rich in vitamins and minerals which your body needs to prevent hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, eye health problems and urinary tract infections.

Here are some of the health benefits of tomatoes:

1. They help to prevent cancer.

Tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and lycopene.  These are highly effective in eliminating free radicals which can cause damage to your cells.  Cellular damage can lead to early aging and cancer.

Studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health have shown that the lycopene in tomato is effective in fighting oral cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer esophageal cancer and cancer of the stomach, rectum and pharynx.

2. They help to reduce bad cholesterol.

Another important benefit of lycopene to your health is its ability to prevent serum liquid oxidation and reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.  These can translate to an added protection against cardiovascular diseases.

3. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals which your body needs for optimum health.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron and vitamin K.

Vitamins A and C are potent natural antioxidants that work to protect your body from free radicals.  You body needs potassium to maintain your nerve health.  Its iron content also helps to keep your blood healthy and well nourished.

Vitamin K in tomatoes is an essential substance in the formation of blood clots when bleeding occurs.

4. They help to protect you from cancer due to smoking.

Nitrosamine is a carcinogenic compound found in cigarette smoke. Tomatoes help to suppress the effect of this chemical in your body with two of its essential substances, coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid.

5. They help to prevent night blindness and macular degeneration.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A which is essential in improving your vision and maintaining your eye health.

6. They help to prevent constipation and diarrhea.

7. They help to lower blood pressure when eaten regularly.

8. They help to alleviate type 2 diabetes by reducing oxidative stress.

9.  They help to keep your skin healthy and protected from early aging.

10. They help to prevent gallstones and urinary tract infections.

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