Properties and Benefits of Black Tomatoes: Over the past few years tomatoes have stolen the spotlight and few other foods have enjoyed so much controversy as they have. First, it was all about whether tomatoes were truly fruits or whether they could still hold their well-deserved place among the veggies. At present, the craze of the black tomatoes has managed to lay hold of everyone.
Are black tomatoes healthier? Are they more easily available? Why are they black? Are they genetically manipulated? Are they safe to eat? The answer is yes. Black tomatoes are just as healthy as regular ones, even healthier from some points of view, as long as you choose them right.
What are black tomatoes more exactly? Black tomatoes are regular tomatoes especially bred or genetically engineered so that the outer skin turns a very dark color when ripe. Although the fruit starts out green, like ordinary tomatoes, as it ripens it gets darker and darker. Depending on how deep the pigment of the outer skin is, these fruit are called black tomatoes, purple tomatoes or blue tomatoes. Other denominations for this particular variety of tomatoes include: ‘Indigo Rose’ or ‘Sunblack’.
Black tomatoes can be obtained either through natural breeding or genetic manipulation. What is the difference between conventional breeding and genetic manipulation? Conventional breeding naturally changes some of the characteristics of the common tomato by crossing it with other close varieties that poses one or more desired characteristics. This is done until the breeder is satisfied with the outcome.
Genetic manipulation involves manipulating the genome of the plant by incorporating actual genes from other plants, related or not. Thus, genetically manipulated black tomatoes have a rather uniform purple-blackish color, while the conventionally bred varieties may have a less intense nuance.
Why are black tomatoes black? This dark pigment has to do with an increased level of anthocyanins, natural red, blue or purple pigments with potent antioxidant effects. These pigments enjoy a wide occurrence in nature and can be found in cranberries, red raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, eggplants, grapes, plums, purple-violet flowers and black or blue tomatoes. So basically, black tomatoes are regular tomatoes with more anthocyanins.
Because of their purplish or black skin color, black tomatoes have a much higher anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are strong pigments which protect plants from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. A diet consisting of foods rich in anthocyanins is believed to have wonderful effects on human health.
For instance, anthocyanins help counteract the potentially devastating effects of free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive agents whose activity damages cells and ultimately leads to degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. A regular consumption of black tomatoes and other anthocyanin-rich foods has been found to offer protection against coronary heart disease. Aside from small to generous amounts of vitamins and minerals, what makes black tomatoes healthy is their high antioxidant content.
In addition to this, black tomatoes are good for eyesight because they provide about 28% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 21.5% of vitamin C, which are more than generous amounts for only 100 g of fruit. Vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes and good eyesight.
Vitamin C is possibly the most potent natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Not only does it reduce inflammation in the body (which is the cause for many debilitating illnesses), but it can also improve our immune system’s response to infections and bacteria. Moreover, black tomatoes contain manganese and potassium. Manganese is an antioxidant-mineral, while potassium regulates heart pressure and body fluids.
Keeping with the tradition, black tomatoes are just as fresh, though not as sweet as regular tomatoes, making them a preferred choice for summer salads or sandwiches. If you are concerned about them being genetically modified, you can opt for the varieties of black tomatoes that have been conventionally bred.
Moreover, you can purchase black tomato seeds, which are not genetically manipulated, and plant your own fruit. This will not only provide relief regarding the hidden, latent dangers of genetic manipulation, but it will also enable you to enjoy a truly healthy, natural food. Your health, your choice.