It is believed that tomatoes were introduced to the Cook Islands by early Europeans. But the History of Tomatoes has it's origin in South America. Though it is botanically a berry, and technically a type of fruit, tomato is categorized as a vegetable.
Genetic evidence shows the progenitors of tomatoes were herbaceous green plants with small green fruit and a center of diversity in the highlands of Peru. One species, Solanum lycopersicum, was transported to Mexico where it was grown and consumed by the Mesoamerican civilization.
The first domesticated tomato may have been a little yellow fruit, similar in size to a cherry tomato, grown by the Aztecs of Central Mexico. Aztec writings mention tomatoes were prepared with peppers, corn, and salt. The word tomato comes from the Aztec tomatl, literally "the swelling fruit".
Historians believe that the Spanish explorer Cortés may have been the first to transfer the small yellow tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of Tenochtítlan, now Mexico City, in 1521.
Others believe that Christopher Columbus, a Genoese working for the Spanish monarchy, was the first European to take back the tomato, as early as 1493.
The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in an herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, an Italian physician and botanist who named it "pomo d’oro", or "golden apple".
It's Healing Properties
Tomato is one of the most recommended and nutritious vegetables in our garden. One medium-sized tomato of about 150 grams in weight may have 35 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 5 mg of sodium, 7 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 20% vitamin A, 40% vitamin C, 2% Calcium, 2% Iron.
People who ate tomatoes regularly have a reduced risk of contracting cancer diseases such as lung cancer, prostate, stomach, cervical, breast, oral, colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic, and many other types of cancer, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that when tomatoes and garlic are taken together at the same time, have cancer preventative effects. Lycopene and the newly discovered bioflavonoids in tomatoes are rescognised as cancer fighting agents.
Raw tomatoes, cooked, or processed tomato products such as ketchup, sauce, and paste, are counted as good sources of cancer prevention. (Some may prefer fresh organically grown tomatoes).
Tomato is also good for liver health, it has a detoxification effect in the body, probably due to the presence of chlorine and sulfur in it. According to some studies, 51 mg of chlorine and 11 mg of sulfur in 100 grams size of tomato have a vital role in the detoxification process. Natural chlorine works in stimulating the liver and it's function for filtering and detoxifying body wastes. Sulfur in tomatoes also protects the liver from cirrhosis.
Tomato juice is known as a good energy drink and for rejuvenating the health of patients on dialysis.
Tomato prevents hardening of the arteries, therefore, tomato can reduce high blood pressure.
Tomato juice can be used for the healing process of sunburn because of its unique vitamin C. Tomato juice is also a good sports drink to restore yourself from fatigue and sleepiness.
Ripe, red tomatoes are a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E and Lycopene in tomatoes prevents LDL Oxidation effectively. It is an excellent fruit for rapid skin cell replacement. Lycopene is a component to which tomato owes it's colour, with similar properties to the betacarotenes of carrots, and has anti-cancerous properties. Lycopene seems to reduce the probabilities of many cancers, such as those affecting the prostate, the lungs, the stomach, the bladder, and the uterus. Lycopene is released when fresh tomatoes are cooked.
Tomato has been proved to help eliminate lead efficiently. Other rich foods in this category are: Garlic, Potato, Spinach, Corn or Portulaca.
Glutation is another component with proved antioxidant properties that helps to eliminate free radicals, which are responsible for many illnesses, and rids the body of heavy metals that produce deterioration of the organisms. This element is present in the skin of vegetables, like raw tomatoes, although it is found in larger quantity in broccoli.
Tomato is very rich in potassium, a mineral that intervenes in the regulation of the corporal liquids as well as in the good state of the nerves, the heart, and the muscles.
It is also considered to be a good aphrodisiac. It's water content and it's richness in minerals, makes it an ideal treatment for lost fluids and minerals caused by excessive heat.
Tomatoes are also very rich in vitamins A and C, beneficial components for detoxifying the organs. Vitamin A helps the body to attain cellular growth, maintain bones and the teeth, helps the immunologic system to combat infections, and maintain good eyesight.
Vitamin A is obtained from carotenes and especially from beta-carotene, which is found in many vegetables.
Tomatoes aid cuts, scratches, or wounds of any type, and heals or lower inflammation. Tomato leafs can be crushed and applied as a poultice on wounds, or it's pulp can be applied on wounds.