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Amazing Benefits Of Tomatoes (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Tomatoes (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Tomatoes are well known and enjoyed around the world, making them one of the most popular and accessible vegetables around. They are extremely versatile and can be served in both savory and sweet dishes. They can be eaten raw or cooked and can be made into soups, juices and even alcoholic beverages, such as the Bloody Mary.

There are many interesting facts about tomatoes. There are around 25,000 varieties of tomatoes and they have a lot of medicinal properties including the ability to reduce cancer risks, improve cardiovascular health, lessen hypertension, regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. They can also improve our skin, hair, nails and bones. Tomatoes have so many health benefits because they are rich in minerals and nutrients that are necessary for optimal well being. However, not many people are aware of these facts and it makes tomatoes one of the most underrated foods.

Read on to see how the following properties and benefits of tomatoes surprise you!

1. Tomatoes are good for our heart and circulation

Tomatoes contain a mineral called potassium which is necessary for optimal vein and muscle health. It can help reduce cholesterol and stabilise blood pressure. It also assists kidneys to filter the wastes in blood. Potassium levels in the body can be maintained by eating tomatoes and this will radically reduce the possibility of stroke and heart attack.

The amount of potassium in tomatoes varies, depending on the quality and size of the tomato you pick. To absorb the largest amount of potassium from tomatoes, you should eat them raw. You can either dice tomatoes for salads, slice them up for sandwiches or blend them into a refreshing juice. Keeping tomatoes uncooked and combining them with other fresh ingredients, you do not only enjoy delicious meals but also have sufficient daily potassium intake.

2. Tomatoes make us feel and look good

Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta carotene. These antioxidants help prevent irreparable damage of cells caused by free radicals. The relationship between antioxidants and free radicals is crucial to good health and well being.

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Apart from making us feel healthier, tomatoes also make us look more attractive. For example, tomatoes can keep our hair shiny and strong, maintain good eye health and allow our skin to stay glowing. Eat them raw or use them directly on your skin with the flesh side down, as the Florida Tomato Committee recommends. It may cause some redness on our skin at first, but this is not serious and will not last long.

3. Tomatoes boost the health of teeth and bones as we age

The human body contains copious amounts of calcium. Around 1% of calcium is used for the metabolic functions of our veins, muscles and nervous system. The other 99% is stored in our bones and teeth and can be lost dramatically as we age. Calcium is absorbed and removed from bones and teeth at different rates depending on how old we are.

“Bone itself undergoes continuous remodeling, with constant resorption and deposition of calcium into new bone. The balance between bone resorption and deposition changes with age. Bone formation exceeds resorption in periods of growth in children and adolescents, whereas in early and middle adulthood both processes are relatively equal. In aging adults, particularly among postmenopausal women, bone breakdown exceeds formation, resulting in bone loss that increases the risk of osteoporosis over time.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health

Other than drinking milk, eating tomatoes can help strengthen your bones and teeth as they are a great source of calcium too! The amount of calcium in tomatoes depends on how they are consumed, but this can be easily calculated. It appears that sun-dried tomatoes contain the highest levels of calcium.

4. Tomatoes reduce the risk of cancer

Tomatoes contain a red pigment called Lycopene. Lycopene is found in a lot of red fruits and vegetables and also in some that are not actually red like asparagus and parsley. It occurs naturally in the human body and is found in the liver, blood, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate, colon, and skin. Eating foods like tomatoes that contain Lycopene helps boost the quality and quantity of the pigment in those areas of the body and can assist in the prevention of cell damage that can possibly turn into cancer.

Research has shown that consuming Lycopene-rich tomatoes can help to prevent cancer occurring in prostate, lung and stomach without bringing any adverse effects to the body. To extract the optimum levels of Lycopene from tomatoes, it is best to consume them when they are cooked and combined with a little fat. Tomato soup is unquestionably one of the greatest options you should consider!

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5. Tomatoes are a great help to diabetics

Chromium is the mineral found in tomatoes that causes insulin spike and therefore regulates your blood sugar level. It is a beneficial property aiding in the prevention and management of diabetes. When you consume a diet high in carbohydrates, your blood tend to absorb most of the sugar in the diet. Luckily, studies have shown that chromium can reduce the risk of diseases arising from high sugar consumption. Canadian doctor Ben Kim says that chromium in food:

“Helps to regulate your blood sugar level by enhancing the effects of insulin

Helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, including type II diabetes, through its effect on insulin

Helps your body make protein, fats, and cholesterol through its effect on insulin”

He also lists the types of foods that contain chromium, including tomatoes, and the recommended daily intake of chromium for each age group.

6. Tomatoes can repair the damage done by smoking

Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which can help repair the damage caused by carcinogens in cigarettes. Like many of the other properties found in tomatoes, chlorogenic acid is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and prevent cancer.

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Try the following 5 recipes to get the best out of tomatoes.

Tomato, Watermelon and Feta Skewers with Mint and Lime

WTCN July 2015 Food Stylist Erin Merhar Prop Stylist Caroline Cunningham Tomato ,Watermelon, Feta Skewers
    via WTCN

    Green Tomato Soup with Lump Crab Meat

    WTCN July 2015 Food Stylist Erin Merhar Prop Stylist Caroline Cunningham Green Tomato Soup With Crab Meat
      via WTCN

      Chunky Tomato Fruit Gazpacho

      gazpacho

        via myrecipes.com

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        Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

        sundried tomato sauce

          via damndelicious.net

          Spicy Tomato Juice

          f609c1d5e81b1e5324d431d71da71ae4

            via food.com

            Featured photo credit: Valentyn Volkov via shutterstock.com

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            Diane Koopman

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            Last Updated on November 11, 2019

            How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

            How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

            Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

            To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

            Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

            1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

            Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

            Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

            To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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            2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

            Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

            If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

            Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

            3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

            Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

            Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

            4. Feed Your Brain

            Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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            This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

            Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

            Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

            5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

            According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

            Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

            Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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            6. Write it Down

            If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

            It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

            You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

            7. Listen to Music

            Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

            8. Visual Concepts

            In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

            Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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            Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

            9. Teach Someone Else

            Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

            Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

            10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

            Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

            So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

            Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

            More About Boosting Memory

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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