Do you consider tomatoes a fruit or vegetable? Let’s settle this. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit. However, in many places globally, including the United States, it’s classified as a vegetable for culinary consumption.
The tomato plant is part of the deadly nightshade family, and its scientific name is Solanum lycopersicum. Unsurprisingly, when Europeans first encountered the fruits, they considered them toxic.
Although the tomato plant’s leaves can be toxic, the fruits are safe to consume. The tomato is native to South and Central America, and it’s the Spanish who introduced it to the rest of the world.
It’s vital that you include it in your diet more often because it has numerous health benefits. Tomatoes are among the world’s healthiest foods. They are a great source of vitamins C, A, E, K, and B6, fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, lycopene niacin, folate, and biotin. Research has shown that lycopene-rich diets promote bone, liver, kidney, heart, and blood health.
A National Institutes of Health study on postmenopausal women revealed that lycopene-rich diets also minimize the damage done by oxidative stress on bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The phytonutrients in tomato-rich diets have also been associated with reducing the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. These diets also lower the risk of coronary heart disease.