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Tantilizing Tomato Facts

Popularity. The tomato is America’s fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions.

Increasing popularity. Americans have increased their tomato consumption 30% over the last 20 years

Toxic? While tomatoes are perfectly safe and healthy to eat, their leaves are actually toxic!

How will you take your tomatoes? As of 2007, Americans spend more on salsa than tomato ketchup.

Fun tomato facts about growers

shovel and tomato sprout The average Joe. 93% American gardening households grow tomatoes.

Fresh tomatoes. Fresh-market tomatoes are grown in all 50 states.

Biggest worldwide producers. The largest worldwide producer of tomatoes is China, followed by USA, Turkey, India and Egypt.

Biggest U.S. producer – processed tomatoes. California produces 96% of the tomatoes processed in the U.S.

Biggest U.S. producer – fresh tomatoes. Florida is the number one producer of fresh market tomatoes (except in 2008).

Fun tomato facts: names

How it all began. Tomatoes are thought to originate in Peru. The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl,” which means “plump thing with a navel”.

Love and paradise. When the tomato was introduced to Europe in the 1500s, The French called it “the apple of love.” The Germans called it “the apple of paradise.”

For the wolves? The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean “wolf peach.”

“Tomato” in other languages

English: tomato
French: tomate
Dutch: tomaat
German: Tomate
Danish: tomat
Spanish: tomate
Italian: pomodoro


Fun tomato facts: even the tomato has “family issues”

How many kinds? The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there are 25,000 tomato varieties. Other sources cap the number of types of tomatoes at 10,000. (Either way, that’s a lot.)

Tomato cousins. Tomato is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna (a herbaceous perennial, also known as the nightshade or solanaccae, that has historically been used as both a medicine and poison).

Tomato headliners

Heaviest tomato. The heaviest tomato on record weighed in at 3.51 kg (7 pounds 12 ounces). A “delicious” variety, it was grown grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. Gordon sliced the tomato to make sandwiches for 21 family members.

Largest plant. The largest tomato plant (a “Sungold” variety), recorded in 2000, reached 19.8 meters (65 feet) in length and was grown by Nutriculture Ltd. of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK.

Biggest tomato tree. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tomato tree grows at Walt Disney World Resort’s experimental greenhouse and yields a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and weighs 1,151.84 pounds (522 kg). The plant was discovered in Beijing, China, by Yong Huang, Epcot's manager of agricultural science, who took its seeds and grew them in the experimental greenhouse. Today, the plant produces thousands of golf ball-sized tomatoes that are served at Walt Disney World's restaurants, and can be seen by tourists riding the "Living With the Land" boat ride at the Epcot Center.

Official veggie and official fruit. The tomato serves as both the official state vegetable and the official state fruit of Arkansas, in honor of the South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato, sometimes known as “Bradley Pink.”

Official state beverage. Tomato juice is the official state beverage of Ohio.

Under consideration:. A proposal to the NJ State Assembly in 2008 requested that the tomato be adopted as the state’s official state vegetable, but to date the bid has not been passed.


Tomato Facts: Best Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Check out these tomato facts that make this popular food a nutrition powerhouse! Nutrients in tomatoes make them heart-healthy, diet-friendly, excellent for preventing many forms of cancer and other diseases, and provide numerous additional health benefits. top of a tomato

Tomato Facts: tomatoes are heart-healthy

Tomatoes help lower cholesterol
Since a tomato has 0 grams of cholesterol, it doesn’t add cholesterol to the diet. Plus, a cup of fresh tomato provides 9% of the DV for fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. Tomatoes are also a good source of niacin (vitamin B3), which has been used for years as a safe way to lower high cholesterol levels.

Tomatoes reduce the risk of heart disease
Tomatoes are a very good source of potassium. Diets rich in potassium have been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folate, each present in tomatoes in good amounts, are both needed by the body to convert a potentially dangerous chemical called homocysteine into other, benign molecules. High levels of homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls and are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.



Tomatoes help lower blood pressure
In clinical research conducted by Dr. Esther Paran, M.D. at Ben Gurion University (Beersheva, Israel), tomatoes were linked with a significant drop in blood pressure. After 8 weeks, ongoing tracking of daily tomato ingestion (in the form of lycopene complex – a tomato extract) showed a drop in both the blood pressure top number (systolic) by 10 points and the bottom number (diastolic) by 4 points.

Tomatoes provide antioxidant protection from cell damage
Nutrition experts agree: tomatoes are an outstanding source of the antioxidant lycopene. Antioxidants travel through the body, neutralizing dangerous free radicals that could otherwise damage cells and cell membranes. Free radicals escalate the progression or severity of atherosclerosis, diabetic complications, asthma, and colon cancer. High intakes of lycopene have been shown to help reduce the risk or severity of all of these illnesses.

Tomato Facts: tomatoes fight cancer

Tomatoes protect the prostate
Studies show that eating tomatoes reduce the risk of many cancers, and prostate cancer in particular. In study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, animals on an energy-restricted, tomato-based diet showed a 32% drop in their risk of dying from prostate cancer. Credit goes to antioxidant lycopene working together with other phytonutrient compounds in tomatoes.

Tomatoes are anti-inflammatory
The overproduction of free radicals within cells boosts inflammatory compounds. These compounds promote virtually all chronic degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease along with various cancers. High amounts of antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene in tomatoes neutralize free radicals and help reduce inflammation.

Tomato facts: tomatoes help keep internal systems working well

Tomatoes help regulate blood sugar
Tomatoes are a good source of chromium, which has been shown to help diabetic patients keep their blood sugar levels under control.

Tomatoes counteract acidosis
Acidosis, according to the medical community, is a common cause of calcium loss, fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness, muscle aches, acne, eczema, arteriosclerosis, sexual dysfunction, hormone imbalance, depression, and many degenerative conditions. Our bodies are designed to maintain an alkaline balance with a pH of 7.365. Yet diet and poor exercise habits mean our bodies are over-acidified. By including plenty of alkaline minerals in our diets – calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium – we help our body maintain its alkaline balance naturally. Tomatoes are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, and potassium and can aid in preventing acidosis.

Tomatoes help reduce migraines
Tomatoes are a good source of riboflavin, which has been shown to be helpful for reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.

Tomatoes boost immunity
Tomatoes have been credited by experts with helping to avoid flu and colds, especially for males. According to the medical community, these common illnesses are widely believed to be rooted in carotenoid deficiencies, including low amounts of lycopene and beta carotene in a patient’s system. Drinking tomato juices assists in building defenses against colds and flu.

Tomato facts: tomatoes help protect the skin, bones, and eyes

Tomatoes provide natural sunscreen
Researchers at the University of Dusseldorf (Germany) observed subjects who consumed tomato paste for a minimum of 10 weeks. Absorption of UV rays was 40% lower than subjects in the control group, showing lycopene in tomatoes works as a natural sunscreen and provide protection against UV rays.

Tomatoes strengthen bones
A serving of tomatoes provide 18% the daily value for vitamin K, which promotes bone health. Vitamin K activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin mineralizes calcium molecules inside of the bone. In other words, vitamin K in tomatoes helps osteocalcin do its work to harden calcium and make bones strong.

Tomatoes benefit eyesight
Vitamin A is essential to maintaining the health of the retina. Its deficiency contributes to the development of night blindness. A one cup serving of fresh tomatoes provides 30% DV of vitamin A, a high concentration which prevents necessary shortage and promotes eye health.


The Tomato Diva Loves You!