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Tomato For Diabetes
The tomato is the fruit of the plant Lycopersicon esculentum. It can also be classified as a berry as it forms from a single ovary. There are thousands of different kinds of tomatoes which vary in shape, size and color. From the small cherry tomatoes to the pear – shaped Italian ones, all of these versatile fruits have been used in different cuisines throughout the world. The tomato can be used for diabetes management.
Many diabetics also suffer from heart diseases. Tomatoes contain many ingredients which help support the body’s cardiovascular system. There are two main lines of research that link tomatoes to a healthy heart. The first involves antioxidant support while the second line of research involves fat regulation in the blood.
The heart is responsible for pumping blood which is responsible for supplying oxygen to the body. Antioxidants play a crucial role in checking the damage caused by oxygen. Here, vitamins C & E, available in high concentrations in tomatoes, play a very important role in minimizing the damage caused by oxidation. The carotenoid lycopene is another nutrient found in tomatoes that supports the heart. Lycopene has the ability to reduce the level of lipid peroxidation in the blood. Lipid peroxidation is the process in which fats in the blood or in the membranes of cells gets damaged by oxidation. The body’s immune system responds to this damage and sets off a series of reactions that can ultimately lead to atherosclerosis and a blocking of the arteries. Lycopene helps to prevent this damage from occurring.
The second line of research explores the link between tomatoes and the regulation of fats in the blood. Diets rich in tomatoes have been shown to improve the fat profile of blood. Total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels all decrease. Lycopene helps to retard the accumulation of cholesterol molecules in macrophage cells. These cells are a kind of white blood cell, and their accumulation of cholesterol is what causes atherosclerosis.
Another area where tomatoes help heart health involves blood cells called platelets. Blood platelets help in blood clotting and excessive platelet levels can cause blockages and unwanted clotting. In diabetics, platelets tend to be ‘stickier’ resulting in excessive clotting. This is why diabetics are prone to strokes and heart diseases. Tomatoes contain numerous phytonutrients which help reduce this tendency of platelets to clump together, thus decreasing the risk of blockages forming in the blood vessels. Combined with the other benefits to the heart described above, the ability of tomatoes to regulate platelet aggregation makes them a very effective means of maintaining heart health. Studies have also shown that eating about 200 grams of raw tomatoes can result in a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in diabetics.
Other nutrients found in tomatoes play a big role in bone health and cancer prevention. Alpha tomatine, a phytonutrient found in tomatoes, has the ability to alter metabolic activity in prostate cancer cells. It can also trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in fully formed prostate cancer cells. Similar results have also been seen in cases of non-small cell lung cancer. Studies involving Lycopene have shown that it can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
Studies have shown that diets with high tomato content lower the risk of developing neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Numerous studies have linked tomato rich diets with a reduced risk of obesity. Some of the other essential nutrients in tomatoes are:
|Submitted on January 16, 2014|