Lycopene, the most important antioxidant in tomatoes, is what gives the fruit its super powerful properties. The antioxidant offers protection against a range of deadly diseases, with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease being a few of them. This antioxidant is widely believed to be responsible for the great benefits of tomatoes.
Scientifically called Solanum lycopersicum, the tomato originated in the Central and South Americas. It comes in numerous varieties that are grown in temperate climates in various parts of the world. Tomatoes are exceptionally beneficial for people who want to lose weight and maintain their blood pressure levels. They also help enhance vision and aid in diabetes management. More importantly, they can be beneficial to pregnant women.
At some point in history, the Europeans considered tomatoes to be poisonous, given their shiny appearance. The Aztecs were the first set of people who used tomatoes for cooking. With the passing of the centuries, the cultivation spread to Asia, and as of today, China and India are the top producers of tomato in the world.
The tomato is referred to as the functional food – meaning it goes way beyond just providing basic nutrition. One major reason is the presence of lycopene, the all-powerful antioxidant that enhances health in numerous ways. There are numerous varieties – the most popular of them being plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and tomberries.
The leaves of the tomato plant are 4 to 10 inches long, and both the stem and the leaf are hairy. Tomatoes are cultivated in numerous colors – while the most common variant is the red one, other colors include yellow, green, orange, black, brown, pink, white, brown, and purple.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Tomatoes Nutritional Facts?
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes?
- Why Are Organic Tomatoes Better?
- How To Select The Right Tomatoes? And What About Storage?
- How To Use Tomatoes
- How To Incorporate Tomatoes Into Your Diet
- Any Popular Tomato Recipes?
- What Are The Side Effects Of Tomatoes?
- Tomatoes In The News
What Nutrients Does Tomato Contain?
|Tomatoes, sliced, raw|
1.00 cup (180.00 grams)
|Vitamin K||7.9 µg||16%|
|Vitamin A||833 IU||8%|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg||8%|
|Vitamin E||0.54 mg||6%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.2 mg||4%|
|alpha-lipoic acid||0.56 g||–|
|folic acid||68 mcg||7%|
|lutein and zeaxanthin||40 mcg||1.8%|
This table graphically depicts the most important nutrients present in tomatoes, with the %DV talking about the extent to which one can meet the daily requirement of that particular nutrient. Tomatoes are excellent sources of lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin C.
Well, those are what we have in the humble tomato. And now, let’s get to the benefits!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes?
Let’s take a look at what actually are the tomato benefits here:
1. Tomatoes Help Prevent Cancer
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, lycopene in tomatoes could be responsible for the fruit’s anticancer properties (1). Laboratory studies show that tomato components have prevented the proliferation of several cancer cell types.
More importantly, one can enhance the cancer-fighting potential of tomatoes by taking them in a processed form – like the sauce, juice, or paste of tomatoes. Doing so allows the natural compounds in tomatoes to be more easily absorbed by the body. Also, processed forms of tomatoes have higher concentrations of lycopene (2).
However, it is important to consume a variety of foods (and not just tomatoes) to combat cancer, or any disease for that matter.
One study has also revealed the efficacy of tomatoes in preventing prostate cancer (3). As per another UK study, men who consume 10 portions of tomatoes each week cut their risk of prostate cancer by 20% (4). But then, we don’t know if lycopene supplements have the same effect (5). And not just tomatoes in the processed form, but even those that are cooked can have better health effects.
Given their high antioxidant levels, tomatoes are a great choice for combating breast cancer (6). Adults with cancer participating in studies showed signs of cancer regression post lycopene supplementation. Higher lycopene intake has also been linked to a lower risk of lung, colon, oral, and cervical cancers.
Cancer cells can remain dormant for years until some chemical reaction triggers them and they attach themselves to the body’s blood supply. Lycopene was found to disrupt this linking process, thereby preventing the cancer cells from growing further (7).
Another reason tomatoes help fight cancer is adiponectin, a potent compound in the fruit.
2. Tomatoes Regulate Blood Pressure
Tomatoes are also rich in potassium, a mineral known to lower blood pressure levels (9). This is because potassium reduces the effects of sodium. In fact, the more potassium you consume, the more sodium you lose through urine. Apart from this, potassium eases the tension in the walls of your blood vessels – further reducing blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended intake of potassium for an average adult is 4,700 mg per day. But be careful not to consume too much of potassium as it might lead to kidney stones.
As per an Israeli study, short-term treatment with tomato extract can help lower blood pressure in patients (10).
The potassium in tomatoes also regulates fluids and maintains mineral balance – factors necessary for optimal health (11).
Lycopene is also known to improve the functioning of blood vessels in general, which can help reduce blood pressure (12). Further research shows that though lycopene can help lower high blood pressure levels, it has no effect on normal blood pressure levels. Studies have concluded that lycopene supplements can have beneficial effects towards blood pressure.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, eating foods rich in antioxidants, like tomatoes, can help lower blood pressure (13). Also, tomatoes are low in saturated fat and salt, further enhancing the effects.
Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C that has been found to reduce blood pressure (14).
If they are not entirely ripened, you can store your tomatoes at room temperature. Once ripe, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Beyond that, you can preserve them by freezing or canning (15). But the best option would be fresh tomatoes – as they are the richest in potassium and can have the best blood pressure-lowering effects (16).
3. Tomato Benefits For Weight Loss
According to one study, a daily glass of tomato juice can help trim your waistline (17).
As per another Chinese study, tomato juice can significantly reduce body weight, body fat, and waist circumference (18). It also can lower cholesterol levels that can contribute to weight gain.
[ Read: Tomatoes For Weight Loss ]
4. Tomatoes Improve Skin And Hair Health
Tomatoes are an important ingredient in most beauty treatments. They help cure large pores, treat acne, soothe sunburn, and revive dull skin. The antioxidants in tomato, especially lycopene, fight cellular damage and skin inflammation.
You can treat open pores by simply adding four drops of tomato juice to one tablespoon of water and applying to your face using a cotton ball. Massage for 15 minutes and then rinse with cool water.
What are the benefits of applying tomato on face everyday? Well, tomatoes work wonderfully well as an astringent and improve facial texture. They remove excess oils from your skin and keep your face fresh for longer. All you need to do is mix the juices of fresh tomatoes and cucumber. Using a cotton ball, apply the juice of tomato for face regularly. You can also rub tomato halves on your skin – doing so evens out your skin tone and gives it a natural glow. The vitamin C in tomatoes also brightens your skin tone.
Studies have shown that eating tomatoes also protect the skin from the ill effects of sun exposure (19). Other studies have found an improvement in the skin’s ability to protect itself from the UV radiation in women who ate tomato paste.
Tomatoes also improve the skin’s ability to absorb oxygen – thereby slowing down the signs of aging. And the lycopene in tomatoes can act as a sunscreen. This is another reason tomatoes are added to certain body massage oils to eliminate stress on the skin.
And did you know that the lycopene in tomatoes can also fight cellular damage? Taking about 16 milligrams of lycopene a day can help fight free radicals in the body – leading to youthful skin. It also retains moisture and helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
According to one Boston study, antioxidants like lycopene help enhance skin health to a great extent (20). As per one report, lycopene is one of the few antioxidants with incredible photoprotective properties (21). The vitamin C in tomatoes can also improve hair health. This vitamin, in addition to other nutrients like vitamins A and E, can stimulate hair growth. And they can also treat dandruff and itchy scalp.
Deficiency of vitamin C can cause dry hair, a condition that can be avoided with sufficient intake of tomatoes (and other foods rich in the vitamin) (22).
5. Tomatoes Are Good During Pregnancy
Vitamin C is one of the nutrients any woman needs during pregnancy to keep herself and her baby healthy. It aids in the formation of healthy bones, teeth, and gums. This vitamin also assists in the proper absorption of iron in the body, another vital nutrient during pregnancy. Though taking iron supplements during pregnancy is advisable, eating tomatoes can have its benefits.
The tomatoes lycopene content offers protection against cell damage. Though the safety of lycopene supplements for pregnant women is still under question, the antioxidant from natural sources is very much safe for the women in need.
Including tomatoes in your diet can improve the bioavailability of iron (23). And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vitamin C in tomatoes helps protect both the woman and the baby (24).
One major issue most pregnant women face is ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Most women suffer from this disease in the first trimester or the postpartum period. Eating antioxidant-rich foods like tomatoes can help in this regard (25). But then, tomatoes must only be a supplement and not a replacement to your medications.
6. Tomatoes Reduce Cholesterol And Promote Heart Health
It’s lycopene, again! Including lycopene-rich tomatoes regularly in your diet for a few weeks can cut down your LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels by as much as 10%. To be more precise, you need to take at least 25 mg of lycopene a day. This could be about half a cup of tomato sauce.
As per studies, individuals who consume fresh tomatoes or tomato juice can lower their bad cholesterol levels and increase the levels of good cholesterol (26). According to another Mexican study, consumption of raw tomatoes (14 servings a week for a month) can have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels in overweight women (27).
One article by the Harvard Medical School includes tomatoes as one of the must-have foods for lowering cholesterol (28). And as per another study, the intake of lycopene every day can have similar effects as statins (any group of drugs for reducing cholesterol) in patients with elevated cholesterol levels (29).
Tomatoes are also rich sources of beta-carotene, folate, and flavonoids – all of which are beneficial for cardiovascular health. The nutrients in tomatoes also help reduce homocysteine and platelet aggregation, two phenomena that can have undesirable effects on heart health (30).
In another study by the University of Connecticut, tomato juice was found to possess cardioprotective abilities, which weren’t related to lycopene in any way (the revelation was made for the first time). Though the results are conflicting with what we have seen about lycopene so far, tomatoes still are one of those foods important for heart health (31).
Another study published in a report by Tufts University had found that men with high blood lycopene levels were found to be 55% less likely to suffer from a stroke. The findings remained consistent even after considering other factors like age, BMI, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking (32).
Lycopene is fat-soluble, which is why it is recommended to consume it with a little fat – as that is when it will be better absorbed by the body. Also, vine-ripened tomatoes are richer in lycopene than tomatoes ripened off the vine. So, pick your tomatoes wisely.
7. Tomatoes Counter The Effects Of Cigarette Smoke
Smoking leads to the excessive production of free radicals in the body, which can be very well countered with vitamin C. Which is why tomatoes can work great for smokers. Lower levels of vitamin C in this aspect can result in heart disease and cancer.
According to the National Institutes of Health, if non-smoking men and women regularly need 90 mg and 75 mg of vitamin C respectively, smokers need 35 mg more. Around 100 grams of raw tomatoes contain about 12.7 mg of vitamin C (33).
If you are a pregnant woman who smokes (which shouldn’t be the case in the first place), you have a higher need for vitamin C (34). Talk to your doctor for more information.
A report published by Cornell University found that the lycopene in tomatoes can scavenge up to 90% of the free radicals in the body (35).
8. Tomatoes Improve Vision
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is one reason they are excellent for your eyes. The retinas of your eyes rely on vitamin A, and low levels of the vitamin can, with time, cause blindness.
Lycopene in tomatoes counters free radical damage, which can otherwise affect your eyes. A study conducted in 2011 discovered that people with higher lycopene levels had a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration. Lycopene also protects the eyes from sun damage.
Other eye-beneficial nutrients in tomatoes are vitamin C and copper. While the former might fight age-related cataracts, the latter helps produce melanin – the important black pigment in the eyes.
Lutein in tomatoes is to be talked about as well. It is a phytochemical, which is a carotenoid that is helpful for vision health (36). The beta-carotene in tomatoes, upon consumption, is converted into retinol – and this compound is essential for optimal vision (37).
A quick tip – if you are choosing tomatoes in the cooler months, go for the canned variety (38). This includes diced tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, or whole peeled tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are richer in nutrients, and since it’s winter, might cost less as well. And yes, while shopping for canned tomatoes, go for the low-sodium variant.
9. Tomatoes Enhance Digestive Health
10. Tomatoes Help Manage Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, tomatoes are an important part of the diabetic diet. This is because they are rich in iron and vitamins C and E – all of which help relieve diabetic symptoms (42). Tomatoes also have a low glycemic index (the ability of a particular food to increase blood sugar levels), which can be a bonus for diabetics.
As per an Indian study, long-term supplementation of tomatoes was linked to beneficial effects in patients with diabetes mellitus. Though further research is warranted in this regard, the finding is promising (43). An Iranian study concluded that consuming 200 grams of raw tomatoes every day had a favorable effect on the blood pressure levels in type 2 diabetes patients (44).
The lycopene in tomatoes, along with other compounds, was also found to have a positive effect on the oxidative stress in diabetes patients (45).
11. Tomatoes Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, consuming antioxidant-rich foods like tomatoes can help prevent urinary tract infections (46).
Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C, which makes them one of the few ideal foods for treating urinary tract infections. This is because vitamin C inhibits the growth of E.coli bacteria, thereby making your urine less acidic and treating the condition.
According to another Turkey study, fresh tomato juice might help in preventing urinary stone formation (47).
12. Tomatoes Help Prevent Gallstones
Again, the antioxidants in tomatoes make them helpful in reducing the symptoms of gallstones (48).
As per a report by the Michigan State University, consuming tomatoes can reduce the risk of gallstones as well as kidney stones (49).
A few ways to incorporate tomatoes into your diet for preventing gallstones could be adding the canned or stewed versions to your soups and stews. You can also make fresh salsa and add tomatoes as a topping on salads, meat, or eggs.
13. Tomatoes Strengthen Bones
According to The Daily Telegraph, having just two glasses of tomato juice a day can strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis. However, the study that came up with the result was not done on a large scale, which is why further research is required in this area. Nonetheless, the possibilities are promising.
As already discussed, tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene. This nutrient, when ingested, turns into vitamin A – the vitamin that is essential for bone growth and maintenance (50).
The vitamin C in tomatoes is also crucial for bone formation and the synthesis of connective tissue. A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to underdeveloped bones. The vitamin has been linked to reduced bone loss in postmenopausal women as well (51).
Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin K, which, along with vitamin D, plays a pivotal role in bone metabolism. It also increases bone mineral density, thereby reducing the likelihood of fractures.
14. Tomatoes Enhance Your Immune System
In one study, a tomato-rich diet had enhanced the functioning of the white blood cells in test subjects. The white blood cells, which are known for fighting infections, sustained 38 percent less damage from free radicals. As per experts, the lycopene (and its antioxidant ability) in tomatoes might enhance this ability of the white blood cells.
According to a German study, supplementing a low-carotenoid diet with tomatoes might enhance immune function (52).
[ Read: Boost Immune System ]
15. Tomatoes Reduce Inflammation
Tomatoes also contain three other antioxidants called zeta-carotene, phytofluene, and phytoene – which are found together in most brightly-colored fruits and veggies. These antioxidants help fight inflammation and the associated diseases like cancer and arthritis.
But there’s a catch. Earlier, we had seen that cooking or processing tomatoes enhances lycopene bioavailability. At the same time, the process also destroys these other significant antioxidants. The best way to go about it is to consume cooked/processed and raw tomatoes on a regular basis, and not just stick to one form.
Consuming tomato juice is equally beneficial in fighting inflammation (53). And according to another Italian study, lycopene was found to exhibit anti-inflammatory behavior (54). However, more research is warranted in this regard.
A study published by the United States Department of Agriculture states that tomatoes (especially tomato powder) also contain apolycopenoids and certain other bioactive components that are way more effective than lycopene in fighting inflammation (55).
Harvard Medical School ranks tomatoes as one of the best foods for combating inflammation, and a must-have in everyone’s diet (56).
Cherry tomatoes can be a good addition too (a serving has just 27 calories). They are rich in flavonols that treat inflammation. You can simply roast whole cherry tomatoes with a few garlic cloves and crush them. Add the mixture to a whole wheat toast for a healthy and tasty snack.
Besides lycopene, the vitamin C in tomatoes also helps fight inflammation (57).
16. Tomatoes Boost Men’s Health
The lycopene in tomatoes was found to boost male fertility by as much as 70% (58). The antioxidant can also reduce the number of abnormal sperms. And not just that, it also improves sperm movement and reduces the damage to it.
As per a Boston study, weekly consumption of 2 to 4 servings of tomato sauce was found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 35% and advanced prostate cancer by 50% (59).
Regular consumption of tomato juice was also found to have similar beneficial effects (60).
According to one study, men with the highest lycopene concentrations in their diets were found to have 59% lower risk of ischemic stroke (the most common type of stroke) (61).
17. Tomatoes Enhance Brain Power
Your brain, given the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, is particularly vulnerable to damage by free radicals. Tomatoes, being rich in lycopene and beta-carotene and other antioxidants, can help combat this. In fact, tomatoes, when taken with olive oil, can have better effects. This is because the carotenoids in tomatoes are dissolved in fat (olive oil) and are easily absorbed by the blood.
The lycopene in tomatoes also helps prevent grave diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s (62). According to an article published by the Western Governors University, tomatoes aid cognitive function and concentration (63).
A quick tip – when in the season, go for fresh tomatoes to reap the benefits of lycopene and other essential nutrients. And when not in the season (which is when the tomatoes appear pale and are tasteless), go for lycopene supplements (64).
18. Tomatoes Promote Liver Health
The lycopene in tomatoes scavenges the DNA-damaging agents, thereby promoting liver health. Tomatoes also contain certain B-complex vitamins that sustain liver health.
And here’s a super fact for you – the liver is the only organ in the human body that is capable of natural regeneration. It can regenerate lost tissue, and as much as 25% of the organ can regenerate into a whole liver if minor damage occurs (65). As we have seen, tomatoes protect the liver and help in liver detoxification.
According to one study, increased intake of tomato has been linked to a lowered risk of liver cancer (66). Tomato extract was also found to offer protection against liver inflammation caused by a high-fat diet. As per another Californian study, green tomato extracts containing tomatine (a toxic substance found in the stems and leaves of tomato plants) can inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells (67). Also, green tomatoes, like their red counterparts, are rich in vitamin K and B-complex vitamins that have similar benefits.
Lycopene in tomato is also associated with preventing alcoholic liver disease (68).
Had I known tomatoes are replete with such wonderful benefits, I would have made them my favorite from my childhood.
Tomatoes are great. But it all depends on what kind of tomatoes you pick. Because we know what goes into the production of conventionally grown tomatoes – and it definitely is not something very healthy.
Which is why organic tomatoes are better. Any given day.
Why Are Organic Tomatoes Better?
It’s common sense, if you ask me. Natural tomatoes contain more antioxidants. The antioxidants, especially the polyphenols, are formed in the tomatoes as they ripen. As organic tomatoes take a longer time to ripen (unlike the ones pumped with chemicals for quicker ripening), they are likely to have higher levels of polyphenols.
There was a study carried out by the research scientists from the University of Barcelona and the Institute of Health in Spain. The findings of the study stated that organic tomatoes had the upper hand. They had higher concentrations of flavones like phenolic and hydroxycinnamoylquinic acids, flavanones like naringenin, and flavonols like quercetin and rutin.
Organic tomatoes were also found to have double the concentration of kaempferol, another flavonoid with potent antioxidant properties.
This difference between organic and conventionally grown tomatoes, as per experts (one of them being Stephen Kaffka, a Ph.D. in Agronomy), could primarily depend on the way the two kinds of tomatoes are fertilized (69). Conventionally grown tomatoes receive commercial fertilizer made of soluble inorganic nitrogen. Plants take up this nitrogen very quickly and ripen fast. But the organically grown tomatoes get their nitrogen naturally from manure. This organic material must first be broken down by the microbes in the soil, post which the nitrogen is released to the plants. It takes time. The plants might grow slower, but they have more time to generate secondary plant metabolites or, in simple terms, the real healthy stuff like flavonoids.
Organic tomatoes also contain higher amounts of vitamin C (57% higher than that in conventionally grown tomatoes) (70). Yes, they could be smaller, but they pack a higher dose of healthy nutrients. The fact that they are not treated with chemicals encourages the production of nutrients within the fruit.
More interestingly, organic tomatoes don’t receive any pesticides to protect the fruit from pests. This forces the tomatoes to fend for themselves.
Simply put – making life less easy for tomatoes (or any food, for that matter) can bring about improvements in quality.
Okay. So now you know which type of tomatoes is better. But, how are you going to pick the right one? And what about storage?
How To Select The Right Tomatoes? And What About Storage?
Tomatoes are available all year round in both fresh and preserved forms. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes that are available in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Two common shapes of tomatoes are round or pear-shaped and cherry sized. Select tomatoes that are rich in color like deep red, vibrant oranges, or tangerines.
- Tomatoes are also available in yellow and purple, but these are less acidic and don’t have much flavor.
- They should be devoid of any dent, cracks, or bruises.
- The skin should be taut and not shriveled or wrinkled. Fresh and ripe tomatoes yield to slight pressure and emit a sweet fragrance.
Tomatoes are quite sensitive to cold as it can impede their ripening process and even nullify their flavor.
- Store them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and consume them as early as possible.
- Purchase tomatoes that ripen on the vine as the sugars and acidic and aroma compounds remain intact in vine ripened tomatoes. Avoid buying tomatoes that are overripe and soft.
- If, by mistake, you have bought slightly unripe tomatoes, wrap them in a paper bag with bananas or apples and leave it overnight. The ethylene gas emitted by these fruits will speed up the ripening process. Place them in the refrigerator after they are fully ripe, where they will stay fresh for 2 to 3 more days.
- Take them out from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using them as this will enhance their flavor and juiciness.
- While purchasing tomato ketchup, purchase only organic ketchup to avoid unwanted pesticide residue and other contaminants. Overripe tomatoes are easily perishable and should be ideally stored in the refrigerator.
- The high acidic content of tomatoes is the prime reason that they are canned more than any other fruit or vegetable. Canned tomatoes come in many varieties like whole, chopped, crushed, and pureed. Unopened canned tomatoes can be consumed within six months while opened tomatoes should be consumed within a week.
- You can also freeze the tomatoes if you have excess of them. Freezing will not alter their flavor or texture. All you need to do is wash them thoroughly and leave them to dry. Place the tomatoes in a zip lock pouch and suck out the air with a straw. When required, remove from the bag and thaw to remove the skin.
Tomatoes have several great uses too!
How To Use Tomatoes
This versatile ‘vegetable’ can be used in many ways. Tomatoes are used extensively in cooking and are a staple in Indian cuisine. They are mixed with other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the dish. Green tomatoes are used to prepare chutneys and pickles in our cuisine.
- Tomato juice is gaining immense popularity as a popular health drink. Opt for organic tomato juice as it contains three times more lycopene than the regular ones.
- Regular tomatoes, mainly cherry tomatoes, are used in the preparation of salads and sandwiches.
- You can also stew tomatoes to prepare tomato soup, sauce, and other baked dishes. Homemade tomato sauce is way better than those available in the market.
How To Incorporate Tomatoes Into Your Diet?
Let’s keep this simple and crisp. Because that is how it is.
- Love omelets? Great! Add tomatoes to your next omelet. Top it with some spinach and mushrooms.
- Soup is always a great start to a meal. You can prepare a homemade soup with stewed tomatoes as the base.
- You can make your own tomato salsa.
- You can add cherry tomatoes to your salad and make it more healthful.
- If you love pasta dishes, replace all those creamy sauces with something made of tomatoes.
There are infinite ways to reap the benefits of tomatoes by including it in your diet. And since they are low in carbs (even a large tomato only has about 5 grams of carbs), you can happily fit them into your diet the way you want.
And wait, we have something more for you!
Any Popular Tomato Recipes?
1. Mediterranean Tomato Salad
What You Need
- 2 large tomatoes, ripe, and chopped into large pieces
- 1 medium-sized red onion
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, for taste
- Slice the onions and mince the garlic.
- After 5 minutes, toss all the ingredients together.
- Add salt and pepper for taste.
2. Fresh Tomato Salsa
What You Need
- 2 to 3 medium-sized tomatoes, fresh, with their stems removed
- ½ red onion
- 2 serrano chillies
- Juice of one lime
- ½ cup of chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper, for taste
- A pinch each of dried oregano and ground cumin, for taste
- Firstly, chop the tomatoes, onions, and chillies. Ensure you avoid touching the cut peppers with bare hands. You can use disposable gloves for this purpose.
- Set aside a few of the seeds from the peppers. In case your salsa doesn’t turn out to be as hot as you want, you can add them.
- In a food processor, place all of the ingredients. Pulse until you finely dice the ingredients. In case you don’t have a food processor, you can dice them by hand.
- Place in a serving bowl. You can add salt and pepper for taste. If the chillies make the salsa too spicy, add some more of the chopped tomato. And if it’s not spicy enough, you can go ahead and add some of the seeds you had set aside initially.
- Add the dried oregano and ground cumin for taste.
3. Tomato Basil Soup
What You Need
- 4 cups of chopped tomatoes, seeded and peeled
- 4 cups of tomato juice (low sodium)
- 1 cup of 1% low-fat milk
- 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves
- ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup of softened cream cheese
- 8 slices of diagonally cut French bread
- In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and the juice to a boil. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.
- In a food processor, place the tomato mixture and basil.
- Return the pureed mixture to the pan.
- Stir in the milk, salt, and pepper.
- As you stir, add cream cheese and cook over medium heat until it turns thick.
- Ladle the soup into separate bowls.
- Serve with the French bread.
- You can refrigerate the remaining soup, but ensure you consume it within a week.
That’s about the benefits of tomatoes. But there is some not-so-good stuff too. Which is as important.
[ Read: Tomato Soup Recipes ]
What Are The Side Effects Of Tomato?
- Tomato Leaf Poisoning
Tomato leaves are unsafe. In large quantities, they are known to cause poisoning. Symptoms of tomato leaf poisoning include severe irritation of the throat and mouth, dizziness, headache and, in severe cases, death (71).
- Acid Reflux
Tomatoes are naturally acidic. Consuming too many of them can cause acid reflux. If you constantly experience heartburn, which could be more than twice a week for a number of weeks, you must consult your doctor.
- Tomato Intolerance
Intolerance to tomatoes can cause stomach pain and gas. The symptoms, however, might vary from individual to individual.
Tomatoes have a high fructose content, and this causes issues in people suffering from fructose malabsorption. It can lead to constipation. Tomatoes (the soup, especially) also contain salicylates, glutamates, and amines – all of which are natural food chemicals that might trigger constipation.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Tomatoes ]
- Considerations With Sodium
Canned tomatoes can be high in sodium – one cup of canned tomatoes contains 564 mg of sodium, while 1 cup of fresh tomatoes contains only 9 mg. Though canned tomatoes are as beneficial as the fresh ones, do take note of the sodium content.
There are certain questions most people have in their minds – which we have covered in the next section.
Tomatoes In The News
BBC NEWS: Why Tomato Is The World’s Favorite Fruit
In addition to the mouthwatering and savory taste, the abundance of lycopene is what makes tomato the world’s favorite!
Men who consume more than 10 portions of tomatoes in a week can cut their risk of prostate cancer by 20%!
BUSINESS STANDARD: Diet Rick In Tomatoes May Cut Skin Cancer Rish: Study
The dietary carotenoids in tomatoes can reduce skin cancer risk!
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Is tomato a vegetable or a fruit?
Technically, it is a fruit as it contains seeds. But most cookbooks refer to it as a vegetable.
To be frank, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if you include it in your diet – because the tomatoes benefits are amazing.
How much sugar does a tomato contain?
One whole tomato contains about 4.75 grams of sugar.
What are the benefits of eating tomatoes at night?
The same benefits you would have by eating tomatoes any time of the day. One additional advantage could be weight loss, which is attributed to lycopene. A theory suggests that lycopene releases the growth hormone in your body, which results in fat breakdown, giving a boost to your metabolism.
Now, there is no research behind this, yet. So, we are not sure how true the theory is.
What are the benefits of eating one tomato daily?
The benefits we saw in this post. Simple.
Why are tomatoes red?
Tomatoes are green before they ripen. But as they ripen, due to the breakdown of chlorophyll, which synthesizes a red carotenoid (lycopene), they turn red. When ripe, lycopene can be seen as the dominant color of tomatoes.
What are the benefits of sun dried tomatoes?
One advantage sun dried tomatoes might have over their counterparts is they don’t deteriorate as rapidly. Because there is very less moisture content. Otherwise, their benefits are similar (and superb) to normal tomatoes.
What are Roma tomatoes and how many calories do they contain?
Roma tomatoes are one variety of the fruit. Also known as Italian or plum tomatoes, they contain just about 35 calories per serving.
What are heirloom and grape tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes are an open-pollinated variety of tomatoes. They contain 40 calories per serving.
Grape tomatoes are originally from Southeast Asia, and they appear similar to the oval plum tomatoes. One grape tomato offers just about 5 calories. And a cupful of those tomatoes has about 30 calories.
What other important nutrients do tomatoes contain?
One raw tomato contains about 1.5 grams of fiber, most of which is in the form of insoluble fiber.
And they contain protein too – though not in a large quantity. Half a cup of tomatoes contains just about 1 gram of protein.
Talking about iron, a cup of chopped tomatoes contains just about 0.49 mg of the mineral.
Are tomato seeds harmful?
They are practically harmless. But in case you are suffering from kidney or prostate disorders, stay away from them as certain studies suggest against their intake. Do consult your doctor.
Any interesting tomato facts?
Yes, there are quite a few of them!
- Botanically speaking, tomato is a fruit (we already have seen that). But the government had classified it as a vegetable back in the late 1800s in order to tax it.
- The world’s largest tomato tree was grown at the Walt Disney World Resort. It produced a whopping 32,000 tomatoes in the first 16 months.
- The Aztec name for tomatoes means ‘plump thing with a navel’.
- You can’t grow tomatoes from the seeds of hybrid tomatoes. If you want to grow identical tomatoes, you must get the seeds from the heirlooms.
- Back To TOC
Stock up on tomatoes today! That’s all we’ve got to say!
Do tell us how this post on benefits of tomatoes has helped you. Leave a comment in the box below.
- 10 Best Benefits Of Tomato Juice For Skin, Hair And Health
- 10 Amazing Health Benefits & Uses Of Tomato Soup
- 9 Amazing Health Benefits Of Tamarillo
- 3 Homemade Tomato Face Packs For Different Face Types
Latest posts by Ravi Teja Tadimalla (see all)
- 57 Ways To Lose Weight Forever, According To Science - April 26, 2017
- Worried About Alzheimer’s? Have Coconut Oil Twice A Day For Two Months. - April 24, 2017
- 16 Powerful Fennel Tea Benefits You Must Know - April 18, 2017
- Meet The Woman Who Has Never Cut Her Hair - February 23, 2016
- Why Should You Train Harder On Weekends - February 23, 2016