The age-old question : Is a tomato a fruit or a Vegetable?
We will start with The age-old question: Is a Tomato a Fruit or a Vegetable? The answer is “It’s both”. The “fruit or vegetable” question could also work for any vegetable with seeds. Botanically, a fruit is a ripened flower ovary and contains seeds. Tomatoes are fruits that are considered vegetables by nutritionists.
Now, nutritionally, the term “fruit” is used to describe sweet and fleshy botanical fruits, and “vegetable” is used to indicate a wide variety of plant parts that are not so high in fructose.
In many cultures, vegetables tend to be served as part of the main dish or side, whereas sweet fruits are typically snacks or desserts.
There is no hard-and-fast rule that clearly designates a botanical fruit as a vegetable, but, given that tomatoes are generally not used in desserts and are closely related to other fruit-vegetables , it is not too counterintuitive for tomatoes to be classified as vegetables.
Tomato as a Healthy Food :
- Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your eyes from harmful high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Studies suggest that a high level of both in eye tissue is linked with better vision, especially in dim light or where glare is a problem.
- In particular, tomatoes contain awesome amounts of lycopene, thought to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids.
- Tomatoes and broccoli have synergy that may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- Tomatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral most of us don’t get enough of. A cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams.
- When breastfeeding moms eat tomato products, it increases the concentration of lycopene in their breast milk. In this case, cooked is best.
Tomatoes are a good source of several vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is an essential nutrient and antioxidant.
- Potassium. An essential mineral, potassium is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention.
- Vitamin K1. Also known as Phylloquinone, vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health.
- Folate (vitamin B9). One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function.
“Consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products has been linked to improved skin health and a lower risk of heart disease and cancer”
Types of Tomatoes
The bottom line
Tomatoes are juicy and sweet, full of antioxidants, and may help fight several diseases.
They are especially high in lycopene, a plant compound linked to improved heart health, cancer prevention, and protection against sunburns.
Tomatoes can be a valuable part of a healthy diet.