Tomatoes are among the most common foods added to a variety of recipes and preparations. Tomato is nutrient-dense and is considered a super food. Tomato has been also referred to as a "functional food," i.e. a food that goes beyond providing just basic nutrition. It helps prevent chronic diseases and delivers other health benefits, due to it’s beneficial photochemicals, such as lycopene. Eating tomatoes and tomato products can make people healthier and decrease the risk of conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, according to a review article the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Let’s discuss about tomato’s benefits and its powerful immune boosting properties.

1. Nutritional value of tomatoes One medium tomato provides 22 calories, 0 grams of fat,5 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of protein. They are a rich source of vitamins A, C and Folic acid.

2. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein. Researchers found that tomatoes are the biggest source of dietary lycopene; a powerful antioxidant that unlike nutrients in most fresh fruits and vegetables, has even greater bioavailability after cooking and processing.

3. Tomatoes build strong bones. The vitamin K and Calcium in tomatoes are good for strengthening and repairing bones. Lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which is a great way to fight osteoporosis.

4. Tomatoes contain strong antioxidants which always protect the body from various cancer related health problems by combating the formation of cancer forming free radicals.

5. Maintaining a low sodium diet is essential to lowering blood pressure. However increasing potassium intake (tomatoes contain a lot of potassium) may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. Also to be noted is the fact that, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent decrease in risk of dying from all health related causes.

6. Choline is an important nutrient found in tomatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. It also reduces chronic inflammation.

How to incorporate tomatoes in your diet?1. It can be added to multigrain sandwiches to make a high fibre snack or meal.2. Tomatoes can be added to salads.3. It can be added to sprouts to add some flavour and variety.4. It can also be incorporated into most mixed vegetable recipes.