Consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products has been linked to improved skin health and a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
But what about that old wives’ tale about taking a bath in tomato juice if you’ve been sprayed by a skunk? Contrary to folklore, bathing in tomato sauce or juice won’t wash away the stench of skunk spray. Tomato juice simply masks the skunk smell—it does not eliminate it.
Heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes, is the number one cause of death in the United States. A study in middle-aged men linked low blood levels of lycopene and beta carotene to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Increasing evidence from clinical trials suggests that supplementing with lycopene may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, too.
Clinical studies of tomato products indicate benefits against inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. They also show a protective effect on the inner layer of blood vessels and may decrease your risk of blood clotting.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that spread beyond their normal boundaries, often invading other parts of the body.
Observational studies have noted links between tomatoes—and tomato products, especially concentrated types such as tomato paste— and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. While the high lycopene content of cooked and concentrated tomatoes is believed responsible, high-quality human research is still needed to confirm the cause of these benefits.
A study in women shows that high concentrations of carotenoids, found in high amounts in tomatoes, may protect against breast cancer.
Tomatoes are considered beneficial for skin health. Tomato-based foods rich in lycopene and other plant compounds may protect against sunburn.
According to one study, people who ingested 1.3 ounces (40 grams) of tomato paste—providing 16 mg of lycopene—with olive oil every day for 10 weeks experienced 40% fewer sunburns.
While some further medical studies might be required to confirm the health benefits of tomatoes, eating your own home-grown varieties is a great way to control what you eat and ensure a healthier diet.
Did you know that tomatoes can be so healthful? Please tell us about healthy ways you use tomatoes.