Tomato is one of the most important protective food crops of India. It is grown in 0.458 M ha area with 7.277 M mt production and 15.9 mt/ha productivity. The major tomato producing states are Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. In West Bengal, tomato is grown over an area of 43,600 ha with the production 0.588 M mt and productivity of 13.6 mt/ha. Tomato is rich source of vitamins A, C, potassium, minerals and fibers. Tomatoes are used in the preparation of soup, salad, pickles, ketchup, puree, sauces and also consumed as a vegetable in many other ways.
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), the “Love Apple” is a popular vegetable with high anti-oxidant. They are sweet and juicy and healthy. Tomatoes are very versatile as they can be eaten as a salad, in a sandwich or as gravy for vegetables – not to forget “the all important sauce.” Eating tomatoes is great because this fruit /vegetable (whatever you may call it) has plenty of health benefits. Tomatoes are non starchy, low calorie and play such an important role in diet today
Tomato contains amazing amounts of lycopene which is said to have anti oxidant properties. Studies have shown that tomato can reduce prostate cancer especially in synergy with broccoli. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggested that ‘the intake of tomatoes and tomato products is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. This benefit may be related to the antioxidant properties of lycopene, but other potential mechanisms and other beneficial tomato-based components instead of or combined with lycopene cannot be excluded’.
Tomatoes are a rich source of potassium; a cup of tomato juice has 534mg of potassium and half a cup of tomato sauce has 454mg of potassium. Physiologically, potassium plays an important role in transmission of nerve signals, fluid balance in the body and many other important chemical reactions. Potassium is used to treat high blood pressure, insulin resistance, chronic fatigue syndrome, muscle weakness, and even bloating and intestinal disorders.
Tomatoes work against impotency and help increase the sperm count.
Tomatoes are powerful blood purifiers and clear up urinary tract infections.
They have anti oxidant properties as they are high sources of vitamin C and vitamin A. The Vitamin A especially wards off macular degeneration and improves eyesight.
A person who drinks 8 ounces of low sodium tomato juice a day, can prevent inflammatory diseases like osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
High in fiber they are freely used by weight watchers.
They are good for improving skin porosity and are widely used in the manufacture of skin care and beauty products.