Wednesday, August 7, 2013

TOMATO: A medicinal Food

     TOMATO is the most widespread plant of the botanical family Solanaceae. Scientific Name Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. It is cultivated throughout the world. It is hairy, upright or creeping tropical herb or vine. It grows wild in some places, but generally it is cultivated in vegetable gardens, as a field crop. 

     Actually, Tomato is a fruit but it is eaten as vegetable. The leaves are very irregular in shape. The small yellow flowers, sometimes in clusters, produce a berry which turns red when ripe. This berry is the edible Tomato, which finds its place in almost every home.

     The Tomato's similarity to the red fruit of the belladonna, a toxic plant of the same botanical family, led to the belief that is was poisonous. In fact, this vegetable was not completely accepted in German and North American cuisine until well into the 20th century. Tomato was introduced to Europe by Spaniards who brought it from Peru and Mexico in the 16th Century.

     Nutrition experts have rediscovered the Tomato. They see it as much more than an ingredient to salads or sauces. The healing power that the tomato exercises on a variety of disorders, as well as its preventive effect on certain types of cancer, particularly that of the prostate, make this vegetable a universally recognized as medicinal food.

     But remember this, studies have proved that tomatoes in the form of salads should be fully ripe, otherwise they have a harmful effect on the liver and kidney, and may cause constipation. Vinegar and lemon juice must not be used with tomatoes because the oxalic acid they contain when mixed with other acids may produce a toxic effect.

    

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