The tomato is one of the most popular edible fruits of summer, particularly from July to September. Its name is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word, tomatl. Tomatoes were introduced to Europe in 1544 A.D. after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. In Greece the tomato was introduced in 1818 as was the potato. The first tomato varieties looked more like cherry tomatoes. Today the cultivated local varieties in Messinia are the ‘hontrokatsari’ and the ‘bournela’, which give large and thick-skinned fruit.


Tomatoes are the major dietary source of lycopene, which is distinguished for its antioxidant, anticancer and heart-protecting properties. A recent study demonstrated that the consumption of tomatoes in combination with the consumption of broccoli improves prostate cancer prevention by decreasing the development of adenocarcinomas. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, which has antioxidant activity against free radicals and protects from a number of ailments, such as the development ofatheromatous plaque, diabetic complications, asthma, and colon cancer. 

Furthermore, tomatoes contain fiber, which decreases cholesterol blood levels, keep glucose levels under control and protect from colon cancer.

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