Tomato benefits for health and how to grow it
The tomato is considered both a fruit and a vegetable, and is an integral part of the cuisine throughout the world, especially in the Mediterranean region. The daily consumption of tomato provides a great boost to health as well as improving the taste of food in the kitchen.
More and more people choose to plant and grow tomatoes or tomatoes at home, the reason is that in addition to being a colorful, aromatic food and good flavor. We can eat alone, in sauce, boiled, in salads, in juices, etc. ... There are so many different kinds of tomato, that it is impossible to get to taste them all. Throughout history, many varieties of this fruit have been emerging, exceeding the figure of 9,000 different types.
Benefits of the most important tomato
Abundant source of antioxidants: tomato contains a large amount of lycopene, a very effective antioxidant against the cancer problems caused by free radicals. This benefit can be obtained even from tomato products processed with heat, including tomato sauce.
Reduces cholesterol and protects the heart: Lycopene in tomatoes prevents the oxidation of serum lipids, thus exerting a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of tomatoes has been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. These lipids are the main culprits of cardiovascular diseases since they give rise to the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.
Source of vitamins and minerals: A tomato can provide around 40% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that acts against cancer caused by free radicals. It also contains vitamin A and abundant potassium, as well as iron. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the nerve and iron is essential to maintain the health of the blood. Vitamin K, which is essential in blood clotting and controls bleeding is abundant in tomatoes.
Counteract the effect of tobacco: The two main components of tomatoes, cumárico acid and chlorogenic acid, are essential in the fight against nitrosamines that occur in the body when smoking and are the main carcinogens in smoke of the cigarette.
Improves vision: Vitamin A, present in tomato helps to improve vision, prevention of night blindness and macular degeneration.
Keeps the intestine healthy: The tomato keeps the digestive system healthy and prevents against constipation and diarrhea. It also prevents jaundice and effectively eliminates toxins from the body.
Reduce hypertension: Daily tomato consumption reduces the risk of developing hypertension.
Relieves diabetes: A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that daily tomato consumption reduces oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes.
For healthy skin: The tomato helps in the maintenance of healthy teeth, bones, hair and skin. The topical application of tomato juice is used to cure burns. Daily tomato consumption protects the skin against UV rays. The tomato occupies a prominent place in the preparation of anti-aging products.
Prevents urinary tract infections: Tomato intake also reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections, as well as bladder cancer.
Prevents gallstones: Regular tomato consumption also helps dissolve gallstones.
The antioxidant properties of tomato and its health benefits can also be taken advantage of processed foods such as tomato sauce and mashed potatoes. Daily tomato consumption meets the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, and exerts a protective effect on the body.
How the tomato is sown
The tomato is a plant that can be grown in all types of orchards. It is possible to sow the seeds directly in the soil or to choose a seedbed, that is to say a pot or tray where the plant will start to grow and then be transplanted when it is approximately 15 cm. Whatever the choice, the important thing is to have soil rich in nutrients, something that can be achieved by treating the land with compost or animal manure (cow, horse, sheep, etc.). In the case of nutrient-poor soils, there is always the option of making a mulch fertilizer once the plants are growing. Another important aspect is sun exposure. We are talking about a plant that needs solar rays to grow, so you should choose to grow it only if you have an orchard with at least six hours of sunlight per day.
If you choose the first alternative, the best time for sowing is at the end of spring. In that case, the first thing to do is spread the seeds on the ground and then cover them with 1 cm. of Earth. Then you have to cover the area with a blanket or with a plastic sheet to create the ideal climate for the plant to grow as if it were in a greenhouse. Now, if you prefer sowing in a seedbed, you can start the process at the beginning of spring, placing two or three seeds in a tray of alveoli previously covered with peat. To accelerate germination, cover the tray with a plastic without closing it completely so that it has some ventilation. After two or three weeks, it is time to transplant the plant to the garden.
As with any other crop, the type of irrigation is essential for the good growth of the tomato. Although it is a vegetable "suitable for all public", irrigation contains some secrets because the plant is very sensitive to both excess and lack of water. At the time of watering, it is recommended to pour enough water but avoiding excess moisture. The trick is simple: do not water it frequently but be generous in doing it.
The best thing to do is to irrigate in the morning or after sunset, avoiding the moment before harvesting. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that the leaves of the plant are very sensitive to diseases and that is why it is very important not to wet their leaves.
Plagues and diseases
Among the most common plagues and diseases of the tomato are the Red Spider, the Whitefly, the Pulgón, the Worms of soil, the Ash, the Alternariosis of the tomato or different virus and bacteria. It is more common to appear in greenhouse tomato plants than in those grown outdoors. To avoid pests and diseases it is recommended:
Choose to grow tomatoes together with other crops (crop rotation).
Inspect the soil regularly to control the level of pests and eliminate crop residues and weeds.
Perform a disinfection of the soil and structures prior to planting.
Eliminate the infected parts of the plant.
Use pesticides in moderation.
Choose to cultivate varieties resistant to certain diseases.
The pruning of formation is the one chosen for the tomato cultivation. This practice is done about 15 days after the transplant and when the first lateral stems appear, which are eliminated along with the older leaves to aerate the neck of the plant. Staking or tying the plant as it grows is a task to be taken into account in order to control its growth and prevent the fruits from reaching the ground because it is a climbing plant.
In addition, it is recommended to remove the buds that appear between the armpits of the leaves to prevent the plant from growing in a disorderly way because then the tomatoes will be much smaller and of a lower quality. As tomatoes grow, it is also advisable to remove the leaves to facilitate aeration and prevent the leaves from blocking the sun from the fruits.
The harvest of the tomato begins about 10 or 12 weeks after sowing. It is staggered and is done as the tomatoes start to ripen. It is important to collect the fruits before the first frosts arrive. If some are still green, it is best to pick them up the same way and then deposit them on straw in a room, isolated from other crops, in order to continue with their maturing process.
And now that you know how to plant organic homemade tomatoes, it will be a unique satisfaction when you and your family enjoy them at the table. Also, keep in mind that you can give many uses, you can even prepare preserves for those who were not able to consume.
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