The Tomatillo is a nightshade plant that bears small globular fruits wrapped in a husk. The fruit resembles a small tomato; hence, early European explorers coined the name ‘tomatillo.’ As the tomatillo grows, its brown husk crinkles similar to the texture of a Japanese lantern and gradually breaks off when the fruit ripens.
Physalis philadelphica is the botanical name of tomatillo. Likewise, it is also called the Mexican husk tomato in the southern parts of Mexico where it originated. Moreover, there are several varieties of tomatillo such as the Rio Grande Verde, the Purple De Milpa, the Everona Large Green, and the Pineapple tomatillo among others. Tomatillo varieties differ in taste, color, and size. For instance, the Pineapple tomatillo features a mild pineapple flavor and is yellow in color.
In addition, the tomatillo is actually a vegetable, rather than a fruit like other tomatoes, and is a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Although tomatillos closely resemble tomatoes, they do not contain lycopene. On the other hand, tomatillos contain a different type of antioxidant phytochemical known as withanolide. Researchers from the University of Kansas discovered 14 phytochemicals in tomatillo that shows anti-cancer potential through pre-clinical testing. Even more interestingly, these compounds have no side effects or toxicity. Furthermore, tomatillos are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Tomatillos also have a list of organic compounds that are beneficial to one’s health.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Tomatillos
Nutrition Info (per 100g)
Carbohydrate 5.8 g
Protein 1 g – 2% RDA
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g – 8% RDA
Omega-3 fatty acids 16 mg
Vitamin A 114 IU – 2% RDA
Vitamin C 11.7 mg – 20% RDA
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 0.4 mg – 2% RDA
Vitamin K 10.1 mcg – 13% RDA
Thiamin – 3% RDA
Riboflavin – 2% RDA
Niacin 1.9 mg – 9% RDA
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg – 3% RDA
Folate 7 mcg – 2% RDA
Pantothenic Acid 0.2 mg – 2% RDA
Choline 7.6 mg
Calcium 7 mg – 1% RDA
Iron 0.6 mg – 3% RDA
Magnesium 20 mg – 5% RDA
Phosphorus 39 mg – 4% RDA
Potassium 268 mg – 8% RDA
Sodium 1 mg
Zinc 0.2 mg – 1% RDA
Copper 0.1 mg – 4% RDA
Manganese 0.2 mg – 8% RDA
Selenium 0.5 mcg – 1% RDA
1. Promote Digestion
Tomatillos possess a notable amount of dietary fiber just like most vegetables, making it beneficial to digestive health. Dietary fiber absorbs water and adds bulk to digested food and stool. As a result, it allows food an easier transit through the digestive tract; thus, helping prevent bloating, constipation, cramping, and excess gas. Likewise, a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements prevent serious conditions such as colon cancer and gastric ulcers. Moreover, the high fiber content of tomatillos is beneficial to diabetic patients since fiber is vital in regulating the distribution of glucose into the bloodstream. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is crucial for diabetics; otherwise, it could lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
2. Can Help Treat Strep Throat
Strep throat, a bacterial infection that causes pain and inflammation in the throat, is a common condition in children and adults alike. This condition is brought on by the Streptococcus bacteria, which can spread easily from one individual to another. Tomatillos have anti-bacterial properties that kill the Streptococcus bacteria, as well as anti-inflammatory properties that relieve the inflammation in the throat.
3.May Help Treat Mumps
Mumps is another contagious disease that is caused by a virus that can easily spread through close personal contact. It is characterized by painful swelling under the neck. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, and headache. Since mumps is a virus, it does not respond to antibiotics, which makes it more difficult to treat. Fortunately, tomatillos can alleviate the inflammation and reduce pain, owing to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial qualities. Mumps have virtually been eliminated thanks to effective vaccine practices, but a resurgence is occurring as a result of the anti-vaxxer movement, making it necessary to be ready in the event there is a major outbreak.
4. Treat Colds and Influenza
Tomatillos contain vitamin C and a list of antioxidants that fortifies your immune system; thus, helping you recover faster from fever, colds, or flu and reduce your risk of contracting such ailments in the first place.
5. Help Prevent Cancer
Tomatillos contain a unique group of steroids called withanolides. These types of phytochemicals feature antioxidant properties and suppress oxidative stress brought by free radicals, which are the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism. Likewise, the vitamin A and vitamin C content of tomatillos complement the anti-cancer effects of these steroids. In addition, withanolides promote faster cell regeneration and possess antibacterial functions.
6. Boost Immune System
The vitamin C content of tomatillos can help fortify your immune system’s response against infections. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells or leukocytes that engulf bacteria and fungi. It is crucial that you strengthen your primary line of defense against pathogens to avoid contractions of certain contagious or infectious diseases. Likewise, vitamin C is also a notable component of collagen production, which supports the creation of cells and tissues that make up blood vessels and organs.
7. Treats Ringworms
Ringworm is a fungal infection (yes, you read that correctly, it is not a parasitic worm) that appears on the skin. Not only is ringworm disturbing, it could lead to a number of complications if remain untreated. Fortunately, you can create homemade remedies using tomatillos to treat ringworms, thanks to its anti-mycotic properties.
8. Improve Vision
Tomatillos contain vitamin A, an indispensable vitamin in terms of eye health. Similarly, they also contain beta-carotene, which is a derivative of vitamin A. Beta-carotene serves as an antioxidant that prevents macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye disorders, and is in many aspects superior to Vitamin A, as it is a pro vitamin that selectively converts to Vitamin A as the need arises.
9. Treats Asthma
Asthma is a chronic respiratory ailment that tends to worsen whenever you are stressed or when you are exposed to certain irritants. Allergens, or the substances that trigger asthma, vary from person to person and can include pollen, dust, mites, etc. The main cause of asthma is unknown; however, you can minimize asthma episodes through natural remedies such as tomatillos, which appears to decrease initiation of episodes or shortens duration of attacks.
10. Help Lose Weight While Providing Energy Reserves
Tomatillos are among the best vegetables when it comes to weight loss, as it is low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients. The vegetable’s high fiber content provides for a satiated feeling and prolonged gastric emptying, which is very helpful when you are prone to snacking or frequent cravings. Moreover, tomatillos contain Niacin, which is a primary element in the enzymatic processes that convert food into usable energy for the body. Therefore, you will not have to feel weak and hungry while following a weight loss program- one of the major causes of diet failure.
11. Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Heart Health
Tomatillos contain potassium, a mineral that serves as a natural vasodilator. Potassium dilates blood vessels and reduces the pressure on the cardiovascular system. As a result, potassium allows for efficient distribution of blood and nutrients all throughout the body. Likewise, tomatillos are rich in dietary fiber that helps regulate LDL or bad cholesterol levels; thus, promoting heart health by reducing atherosclerotic plaque deposits, heart attacks, and strokes.
Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to achieve optimum health. Eating foods that contain all the right ingredients, such as the tomatillo, are an excellent place to start. You stand to benefit from its nutritional offerings, and rare phytochemical blends. Try this exotic veggie today!