Tomayto or tomahto. Fruit or vegetable. Tomatoes seem to have their fair share of controversy. What cannot be debated on, however, are the health benefits they provide.

Tomatoes were believed to be poisonous until recently because they bear resemblance to the poisonous deadly nightshade. Nevertheless, packed with nutrition these fruits (yes, scientifically, tomatoes are fruits) are rich in Vitamins A and C, antioxidants including lycopene, folic acid, beta carotene, potassium etc.

The best thing about tomatoes is that they are a natural cancer fighter. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, reduces the risk of several cancers, mainly prostate cancer and mouth, pharynx, throat, oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, cervical and ovarian cancer.

Tomatoes help with heart disease. Eating lycopene regularly, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Rich in potassium levels, tomatoes are also associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes, regulating blood pressure and protecting loss of muscle.

Tomatoes keep your sugar level balanced and can thus be used for diabetes. The chromium contained in tomatoes regulates blood sugar.

The lycopene in tomatoes also strengthens bones and improves bone mass.

Tomatoes are great for hair and skin. The vitamin A makes your hair strong and shiny and helps with improving vision. The vitamin C acts with the collagen in our body to protect our skin from the damage caused by external factors like the sun, pollution etc.

Tomatoes are great for weight loss as they are high in water content and fiber and have no fat and very little calories.

The folic acid in tomatoes helps reduce depression by preventing excess of homocysteine which interferes with production of dopamine and serotonin in the body and regulates mood.

Used in most Indian dishes, fantastic in our salads and delicious in our sandwiches, tomatoes, one of the most produced fruits in the world, are a dietary staple.

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