Hundreds of years ago the tomato was considered just a decorative plant with poisoned fruits. Italians are the ones that discovered its flavors. Therefore the tomato has been ever since the most consumed vegetable in the world.
From a botanical point of view it is a part of the Solanaceae family, being considered a fruit in this regard. It was discovered around 700AD in the western South America and Central America. It got to Spain around 1500.
Starting at around 1800 they were no longer considered just decor elements, but as well the recognized tomatoes as good ingredients for soups and sauces. French used to call them “pommes d’amour”, the love apples, as they thought they have aphrodisiac properties.
In the world there are almost 10000 types of tomatoes of different kinds, shapes, colors and sizes. There are some tomatoes that are a big as a cherry or there are some that are big and fat; there are those that are long or those that are round shaped; there are those that are orange, pink or very red and even purple to black.
Mainly the tomatoes contain 90% water. Moreover they are an important source of vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, iron and vitamin B5. One single tomato contains over 50% of the necessary vitamin C of an adult. These vegetables naturally contain reduced quantities of sodium, saturated fats, cholesterol or calories.
A tomato contains a quantity of fiber similar to those of a slice of white bread. The interest the medical world shown on tomato consumption is mainly due to the lycopene content, an antioxidant that helps the body fight against the destructive action of free radicals.
Lycopene is also associated with the lowering risk of prostate cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer or ovarian cancer.
According to a study the women that consumed 7 – 10 times a week foods rich in lycopene content, presented a 29% lower risk of heart diseases, in comparison to those that consumed 1.5 portions of tomatoes per week. This has proven to be a way of fighting osteoporosis as well.