Seasonal vegetables July: tomatoes

Tomato, the simple fruit with a thousand beneficial properties. Rich in antioxidants, it helps cardiovascular health, diet, sight and is listed among the potentially anti-tumor foods.

Tomatoes are one of the most typical foods of the Mediterranean diet. Raw or cooked, used in a thousand recipes, they are almost never missing on our tables. Summer is the best time to taste them raw while, during the colder months, we can take advantage of the benefits of tomato preserves. Cooking, in fact, enhances some of their beneficial properties.

Thanks to their qualities, tomatoes bring numerous benefits to the body. They contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant to which are attributed protective properties of the body against diseases related to cellular ageing. Lycopene belongs to the carotenoid group and is available mainly in the outer part of the vegetable. Unlike other antioxidant molecules, which are negatively affected by the heat treatment of food, cooking improves the availability of lycopene and, consequently, cooked tomatoes are considered to be a greater source of lycopene than raw tomatoes. In addition to lycopene, the tomato contains other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.

Tomatoes for cardiovascular health

Thanks to its composition, the tomato is considered an excellent food for cardiovascular health. In particular, the following qualities are attributed to tomatoes: reduction of oxidation of "bad" cholesterol, control of blood pressure, slight reduction of systolic pressure.

Tomatoes help to lose weight

The tomato is an excellent food in slimming diets, in particular for three reasons: it is very rich in water and therefore able to stimulate diuresis, especially if eaten raw and fresh; it has very few calories: 100 grams of tomatoes contain less than 20 calories; they stimulate the production of carnitine, an amino acid that is used by the body to transform fats into energy.

Tomatoes, in the end, contain lutein and beta-carotene, two substances very useful for eye health.