Native to South America, tomatoes are now a vital ingredient in cuisine all over the world, yet how did it all happen so fast? It's impossible now to imagine Italian food without them. Indeed, Italians are healthier because of their high consumption of tomatoes, since the ripe red fruit (regarded as a vegetable for culinary purposes) is good for the heart. Packed with the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes help slow tumor growth as well as prevent breast, cervical, stomach and other cancers. Additionally, the lycopene in tomatoes improves the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays.