How Is Your Health?

The Tomato's Role In An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

by Camila Davidson

Following an anti-inflammatory diet is good for your health. It reduces your chance of suffering from certain health conditions. Many foods have anti-inflammatory benefits. One of those foods is the popular tomato. This versatile fruit has many benefits in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Here is more information about the tomato's role in an anti-inflammatory diet, its other health benefits, and how to use tomatoes to maximize their anti-inflammatory effects.

How Does Diet Affect Inflammation?

Diet directly contributes to inflammation, especially if you eat a lot of processed food. Processed sugars and carbohydrates contribute to poor health unless they're moderated. On top of that, these foods also increase your chance of obesity and diabetes, both of which fuel the inflammation cycle.

What Is Special About Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are very high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, folate, and potassium. However, the main anti-inflammatory ingredient they have is lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has many health benefits. While more research needs to be done, lycopene has been shown to have heart and cardiovascular benefits. It may also provide some protection from ultraviolet light.

How Should One Prepare Tomatoes?

For best results, try keeping your tomatoes as natural as possible. Add fresh tomatoes to your vegetable dishes. Light cooking is also OK. What you don't want to do is add a lot of salt and sugar to your tomato dishes like sauces. Be aware that many commercially-made tomato sauces also have a lot of added salt and sugar, so be sure to read the ingredient labels.

When Should One Avoid Tomatoes?

Most people can eat tomatoes safely with no problems. However, you may want to steer away from them if you've had a serious allergic reaction to nightshade fruits or vegetables. Also since tomatoes contain a lot of malic acid, you may also want to limit them if you suffer from stomach acid issues or if you have an ulcer. For some people, tomatoes can be too much of a good thing, so know your tolerance and don't overindulge on them.

If you don't already use tomatoes in your diet, then take advantage of them for their taste and health benefits. Tomatoes are well-integrated in the typical American diet, so it shouldn't be hard to incorporate them. Just make sure you use them properly, or you could cancel out their health benefits. For more information about tomatoes or other components of an anti-inflammatory diet, contact a health professional.