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Monday, 26 March 2012

Medicinal Properties of Tomatoes

Medicinal Properties of Tomatoes

At the time of year when tomatoes are in abundance it is nice to know that this humble vegetable fruit is a life saver and enhancer, filled with medicinal properties we should all be aware. 
Tomatoes have many Names and colours : 
The tomato originated in South America and was spread round the world by the Spanish. The Latin name for quince is Solanum lycopersicum, they are closely related to tobacco, potatoes, aubergine and chilli peppers. Botanically the tomato is a fruit, although it is often considered a vegetable.
Many varieties have been developed with yellow, orange, pink, purple, green, black, or white fruit available.  Commercially tomatoes are often picked unripe, when still green,  and ripened in storage with ethylene, a hydrocarbon gas produced by many ripening fruits. The same effect is often reproduced at home by using a banana, which releases the gas as it ripens.

General information on Tomato and tomato products are that it is generally unrivalled as primary sources of Lycopene, the benefits of which are becoming increasingly and widely known.
Tomatoes are known to Prevent DNA Damage with its Lycopene, is an extremely efficient quencher of singlet oxygen in biological environments and this may well be related to the beneficial role  lycopene plays in the eye and the skin.
 Lycopene's reactions with free radicals are similar to those of other carotenoids and fall into three categories: electron transfer, hydrogen atom transfer and addition: ‘Spent’ lycopene is recycled to lycopene by vitamin C and hence the combination of lycopene
and vitamin C may be the best dietary antioxidant system. It is Concluded that lycopene is best absorbed by the human body if the tomato is cooked, particularly with fat or oil.
Tomatoes, in addition to occupying a prominent position in the popular Mediterranean diet, have an important role to fulfill in delivering a protective effect against a number of chronic degenerative diseases. Consumers attitudes towards health include a revival of interest in the nutritional qualities of foods. Nutritional scientists agree that increased intake of a range of fresh produce can help to raise the long term health standards of almost any human population.  Regular and  higher intake of plant-based foods of all descriptions - fruit, vegetables, cereals and legumes - is a primary target for preventing some of the chronic and deadly diseases and this is recognised by dietitians and  health experts all over the world. Diseases including Diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, male infertility, hypertension and other related human diseases.

 If we look at the tomato and its secondary bioactive compounds, we see possibilities of synergy that have been exploited by Mother Nature, in ways we do not yet understand fully.  Tomato products store health-giving compounds, most of which - lycopene, for instance -have been known to science for years. It is only recently, however, that research has focused on how these different compounds might work together Tomatoes, Lycopene Preventing chronic diseases.  Red varieties of tomatoes are especially rich in the most powerful flavonoid antioxidant lycopene.   Very low in calories and fats; but rich source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins; recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

 Lycopene us the most powerful antioxidant in the carotenoid family and, with vitamins C and E, protect us from the free radicals that degrade many parts of the body.
 Lycopene is part of the family of pigments called carotenoids, which are natural compounds that create the colors of fruits and vegetables Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C and fiber, and are cholesterol free

Content: Lycopenes antioxidant enzymes can play a key role in chemoprevention, helping to block the development of cancerous cells. Lycopene is one of the most frequently cited, but its potency seems to require the presence of other tomato carotenoids such as phytoene and phytofluene: its effectiveness is also increased in diets which include a range of phytonutrients from other fruits and vegetables.
 They are also good source of folate, iron, calcium, manganese and other minerals.
 Fresh tomato is very rich in potassium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
  his veggie contains very good levels of vitamin A, and flvonoid anti-oxidants such as alpha and betacarotenes, xanthin and lutein. Phytochemicals present in tomatoes like Lycopene and carotenoids have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals.

Vitamin C: 'Spent' lycopene is recycled to lycopene by vitamin C and hence the combination of lycopene and vitamin C may be the best dietary antioxidant system.
 Lycopene's qualities are startling. For instance, researchers now know that in the presence of vitamin C, this antioxidant can repair both itself and other antioxidants to restore their antioxidant qualities.
 In addition, they are also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (provide 21% of recommened daily levels per 100 g); consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.

Medicinal Properties
 Gargling tomato juice 3 or 4 times a day can help provide relief from mouth ulcers.

Eyes: Lycopene is an extremely efficient quencher of singlet oxygen in biological environments, and this may well be related to the beneficial role of lycopene in the eye and the skin.
 vitamin A, and flvonoid anti-oxidants such as alpha and betacarotenes, xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision.  Zeaxanthin, another flavonoid compuond, helps protect eyes from "age related macular disease" (ARMD) in the elderly persons by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.

Skin: Skin protection from UV rays: High doses of ultra-violet radiation can lead to photoxidative damage to the skin. Carotenoids provide light protection for plants and can help to prevent skin damage in humans. However, more research projects are needed to provide additional data on ways in which dietary intervention can improve skin physiology. Lycopene is an extremely efficient quencher of singlet oxygen in biological environments, and this may well be related to the beneficial role of lycopene in the eye and the skin. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin.

Cancer: Lycopene can play in preventing prostate cancer, including larger randomized clinical trials.
 There is a suggestion that 15mg of lycopene twice daily for three weeks generated a measurable effect on clinical markers in prostate cancer, making it a potentially useful adjunct in treatment schedules. Lycopene's potent antioxidant has the ability to inhibit certain kinds of cancer cell growth is a result of a synergistic effect with genetic components rather than direct action. Lycopene also displays synergistic qualities with other antioxidants, which are being researched by cancer scientists.
 Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
 Studies have shown that lycopeneprotects skin damage from UV rays and from prostate cancer. The antioxidants present in tomatoes are found to be protective against many cancers including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
 Furthermore, new medical research suggests that the consumption of lycopene - the stuff that makes tomatoes red - may prevent cancer

Osteoporosis: Oxidative stress is of wide interest as a risk factor in the metabolic bone disease osteoporosis. According to Dr Rao there is an ongoing clinical study to evaluate lycopene from nutritional supplements and tomato juice in the prevention of osteoporosis in post menopausal women

HBP: Diet modification is a first step in treating the high blood pressure that accompanies cardiac and circulatory disorder. The results of short term treatments with antioxidant-rich tomato extracts have been encouraging, since they have been found to help to reduce blood pressure in mild to moderate hypertensives, within the limited extent of these trial §The continuous effect of this treatment and the long term beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk factors still needs to be demonstrated. There is great interest in diets rich in fruit and vegetables, due to their potential health benefits against chronic illness, including cardiovascular diseases (CVD) Fresh tomato is very rich in potassium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

Lycopene and DNA Damage: There is widespread support for suggesting that increased intake of tomatoes and their associated compounds, including lycopene, help to prevent DNA oxidative damage and DNA protection in healthy subjects and patients on a tomato lycopene-enriched diet. Despite the difficulties in designing robust studies to demonstrate the role of lycopene in helping to protect DNA from oxidative damage, there is great scientific interest in this dietary aspect of antioxidants, since it lends support to the theory that vegetables can make a day by day contribution to antioxidant protection.

Male Fertility and Sperm production: Spermatazoa can be susceptible to oxidative stress under certain conditions, which can lead to defective sperm function and male infertility. The role of lycopene in the management of male infertility is promising and warrants further research with randomized trials.
 Nelson Brunton.  
Herbal Liver Mix


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