Tomato or “Solanum Lycopersycum” is a plant in the Solanacee family. Tomato originated in South America, presumably in Peru. It was Aztecs who first used them for making sauces. Spanish captain Herman Cortes brought the tomato to Europe in 1540. Italians and Spaniards were pioneers in using the tomato in culinary. In Italy, the tomato appeared at the end of the sixteenth century and was called “golden apple” because first tomatoes were yellow orange in color. Seventy years later, the cultivation began mainly in south regions – Campania, Sicily and Calabria. The cultivation expanded to the north into Emilia Romania region where they grow a variety of fleshy, juicy and sweet cultivars of the “golden apple”.
The San Marzano tomato is highly prized for its taste. It grows on rich volcanic soils in the costal parts of Naples region (near Vesuvius) and in Salerno. Italian canning industry proudly offers canned San Marzano canned tomatoes that are so popular worldwide. Tomatoes are widely used in different cuisines. Cooks never stop inventing tomato recipes. People have created a countless number of dishes, sauces, ketchups, starters and salads using tomatoes. And all these tomato dishes are exceptionally delicious. In addition, tomatoes are very rich in useful substances that strengthen our health.
Useful Substances in Tomatoes
- Sugars – mainly fructose and glucose.
- Vitamins A, B, B2, B6, C, E, K, PP and beta-carotene.
- Mineral salts: iodine, potassium, phosphorus, boracium, magnesium, natrium, manganese, calcium, iron, cuprum and zinc.
- Organic acids: citric, malic, tartaric and oxalic.
- Lycopene, a strong antioxidant.
Note: Lycopene is found in ripe red tomatoes (26 mg per 1 kg). Daily intake for preventing diseases is 13 mg. Lycopene has very strong therapeutic effects. It can prevent the risk of prostrate cancer in men and cervical cancer in women, stop cancerous growth and DNA mutation. Canned tomatoes are even richer in lycopene than raw ones. And fats improve lycopene uptake.
Tomato Health Benefits
- Tomatoes have strong stress-releasing effects and get us feel better. They regulate the nervous system due to their serotonin content.
- Phytoncids found in tomatoes act as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory remedy.
- Tomatoes help improve digestion and metabolism.
- Being a good diuretic, tomatoes are used in the treatment of kidney and excretory bladder disorders.
- Tomatoes help against asthenia, atherosclerosis, azotemia and stomach disorders.
- They also improve the complexion, rejuvenate the skin and smooth out wrinkles.