Manual Tomato Health Management (Plant Health Management)

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Tomato Health Management

Free radicals are known to cause cancer. A recent study in the journal Molecular Cancer Research linked the intake of high levels of beta-carotene to the prevention of tumor development in prostate cancer. Tomatoes also contain lycopene. Lycopene is a polyphenol, or plant compound, that has been linked with one type of prostate cancer prevention. It also gives tomatoes their characteristic red color. Tomato products provide 80 percent of dietary lycopene consumed in the U. A study of the Japanese population demonstrates that beta-carotene consumption may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer. Further human-based research is needed to explore the possible roles of lycopene and beta-carotene in preventing or treating cancer. Maintaining a low sodium intake helps to maintain healthful blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important due to its widening effects on the arteries.

High potassium and low sodium intake are also associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from all causes. An increase in potassium intake, along with a decrease in sodium intake, is the most important dietary change the average person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Tomatoes also contain folate. This helps to balance homocysteine levels.

Homocysteine is an amino acid that results from protein breakdown. It is said to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The management of homocysteine levels by folate reduces one of the risk factors for heart disease. Not only is high potassium intake also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but it is also known for protecting the muscles against deterioration, preserving bone mineral density, and reducing the production of kidney stones.

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Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, while people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams g of fiber. The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming around 25 g of fiber per day for women and an estimated 38 g per day for men.

Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber, such as tomatoes, may help hydration and support normal bowel movements. Tomatoes are often described as a laxative fruit. Fiber adds bulk to stool and is helpful for reducing constipation. However, removing fiber from the diet has also demonstrated a positive impact on constipation.


Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene. These are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to protect the eyes against light-induced damage, the development of cataracts , and age-related macular degeneration AMD. Collagen is an essential component of the skin, hair, nails, and connective tissue. The production of collagen in the body is reliant on vitamin C.

A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. As vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, a low intake is associated with increased damage from sunlight, pollution, and smoke. This can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, blemishes, and other adverse health effects of the skin.

Tomatoes: Benefits, facts, and research

Adequate folate intake is essential before and during pregnancy to protect against neural tube defects in infants. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. It is available in supplements but can also be boosted through dietary measures. While it is recommended that women who are pregnant take a folic acid supplement, tomatoes are a great source of naturally-occurring folate.

This applies equally for women who may become pregnant in the near future. One cup of chopped or sliced raw tomatoes contains :. Tomatoes also contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including :. The cooking of tomatoes appears to increase the availability of key nutrients, such as the carotenoids lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Stewed tomatoes provide more lutein and zeaxanthin than sun-dried tomatoes and raw cherry tomatoes.

Be sure to store fresh tomatoes at room temperature and avoid refrigeration, as this causes tomatoes to lose their flavor. A variety of tomato products are available to purchase online. Every year, the Environmental Working Group EWG compiles a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue. These foods are known as the Dirty Dozen.

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For , tomatoes are number 10 and cherry tomatoes number 14 on the list. Though it has not been proven that eating organic foods has overall health benefits, the EWG suggests that people should buy organic tomatoes where possible. Buying organic minimizes pesticide exposure, though this has not been definitively proven to prevent disease. Beta-blockers , a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood.

High potassium foods such as tomatoes should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers. Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to people with impaired kidney function. Failure to remove excess potassium from the blood can be fatal. Those with gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD may experience an increase in symptoms such as heartburn and vomiting when consuming highly acidic foods such as tomatoes. Individual reactions vary. Therefore, farmers who have very biologically active soils high in organic matter may already be taking advantage of induced resistance. When plants are healthy and thriving, they are better able to defend themselves from attack and may also be less attractive to pests.

Many soil management practices discussed in this chapter and the other chapters in part 3 help to reduce the severity of crop pests. For examples of the effects of soil management on plant pests, see the box on the right. Developing optimal soil health is, therefore, the basis for management of crop pests on farms—it should be a central goal that underpins crop integrated pest management IPM programs.

Department of Agriculture, under award No. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Plant Defenses, Management Practices, and Pests. Project Reports. Learning Center. About SARE. About the Authors. Healthy Soils. Amount of Organic Matter in Soils.

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The Living Soil. Soil Particles, Water, and Air. Soil Degradation: Erosion, Compaction, and Contamination. Nutrient Cycles and Flows.

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Pests and diseases are amongst the major constraints in tomato production, particularly the soil- borne pathogens that are capable of surviving in the soil for long durations. Soil is a reservoir for many plant pathogens and when conditions become favorable; the plants become infected by the pathogens and develop disease. These soil borne pathogens may cause diseases such as, bacterial wilt, Fusarium wilt and damping off disease.

Bacterial and fusarium wilts plate 1. Damping-off disease, which is caused by several soil borne pathogens, is capable of wiping out the entire tomato crop at the nursery level plate 1. Tomatoes are also affected by other pests found in the soil and especially the root knot nematode Figure 1 while weeds compete with the crop for available nutrients and water leading to high economic losses.