11 Impressive Benefits of Tomatoes

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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The health benefits of tomatoes include eye care, good stomach health, and reduced blood pressure. They help us manage diabetes, skin problems, and urinary tract infections. Furthermore, they improve digestion, stimulate blood circulation, reduce cholesterol levels, improve fluid balance, protect the kidneys, detoxify the body, prevent premature aging, and reduce inflammation. Tomatoes consist of a large number of antioxidants may help fight different types of cancer. They are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals and exert a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.

What is a Tomato?

Tomato is technically considered a fruit but is generally lumped into the category of vegetables as a practice. Tomatoes form an integral part of cuisines across the globe, especially in the Mediterranean region. Daily consumption of tomatoes provides a great boost to health, along with improving the flavor of food. You can find them in different foods like pasta, pizzas, ketchup, and various beverages. They are relatively easy to cultivate and grow very quickly, making them a great food source, which is a big reason why tomatoes are a staple food for many nations.

The scientific name of tomatoes is Solanum Lycopersicum, and they are believed to be native to Mexico. However, the Spanish colonization of America and Central America caused tomato cultivation to spread. They are an annual nightshade plant and grow in clusters of small to moderately sized, round red fruits. They have soft, pinkish-red flesh and a number of seeds, as well as a slightly sweet taste. They weigh approximately 4 ounces.

The health benefits of tomatoes are many and include eye care, good stomach health, and reduced blood pressure. They may provide relief from skin problems, and urinary tract infections, and may reduce the risk of diabetes, too. Furthermore, they improve digestion, stimulate blood circulation, reduce cholesterol levels, improve fluid balance, protect the kidneys, and reduce inflammation. Tomatoes consist of a large number of antioxidants may help fight different types of cancer. They are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals and exert a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.

Nowadays, tomatoes are grown in countries all over the world and there are thousands of cultivars and varieties that can provide you with unique health benefits. Let’s explore a few of the reasons why they are such a valuable food item for human health.

A close up view of red tomatoes on a wooden table

Tomatoes Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

Tomatoes, crushed, canned
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]89.44
Energy [kcal]32
Protein [g]1.64
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.28
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]7.29
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.9
Sugars, total [g]4.4
Calcium, Ca [mg]34
Iron, Fe [mg]1.3
Magnesium, Mg [mg]20
Phosphorus, P [mg]32
Potassium, K [mg]293
Sodium, Na [mg]186
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.27
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]9.2
Thiamin [mg]0.08
Riboflavin [mg]0.05
Niacin [mg]1.22
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.15
Folate, DFE [µg]13
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]11
Vitamin A, IU [IU]215
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]1.25
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]5.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.11
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA
The health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of nutrients and vitamins. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, tomatoes contain an impressive amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as significant amounts of B-vitamin, folate, and thiamine. They are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They have a high water content, dietary fiber, and protein, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that contribute to their health benefits.

Tomato Calories

The calories in tomatoes differ on the basis of their variety. A 100 g of raw green tomato has about 23 calories whereas a 100 g of orange raw tomato contains 16 calories. Many people also used canned tomato puree or juice, so the calorie count in these versions can be a bit more as there are preservatives in them.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

The health benefits of tomatoes have been known since ancient times. Let’s discuss the benefits in detail.

Antioxidant Agent

Tomatoes contain a large amount of lycopene, which is a carotenoid and an antioxidant that is highly effective in scavenging cancer-causing free radicals. This benefit can even be obtained from heat-processed tomato products like ketchup. The lycopene in tomatoes defends against cancer and has been shown to be effective in fighting prostate cancer, according to a study led by Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard School of Public Health. Another study suggests that lycopene may help prevent the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells. The results of an animal study suggest that lycopene has the potential to prevent renal cell cancer.

Further scientific studies are required to support the anticancer potential of lycopene.

Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals

A single tomato can provide about 40 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that prevents free radicals from damaging the body’s systems. It also contains vitamin A and potassium, as well as iron. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining nerve health, and iron is essential for maintaining normal blood circulation. Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and controlling bleeding, is also in tomatoes.

Protect the Heart

The lycopene in tomatoes prevents serum lipid oxidation, thus exerting a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of tomatoes or tomato juice decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, as per the British Journal of Nutrition. These lipids are the key culprits in cardiovascular diseases and lead to the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.

Counter the Effect of Smoking Cigarettes

The coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid in tomatoes fight against nitrosamines, which are the main carcinogens found in cigarettes. The presence of vitamin A in high quantities has been shown to reduce the effects of carcinogens.

Improve Vision

Vitamin A, present in tomatoes, aids in improving vision and preventing night-blindness and macular degeneration. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that can be formed from an excess of beta-carotene in the body. A lot of vision problems occur due to the negative effects of free radicals and vitamin A, being a powerful antioxidant, can help prevent them.

Aid in Digestion

Tomatoes keep the digestive system healthy by preventing gastrointestinal issues. Furthermore, they have a large amount of fiber, which can bulk the bowels and reduce symptoms of constipation. A healthy amount of fiber helps stimulate peristaltic motion in the smooth digestive muscles and release gastric and digestive juices. This can regulate your bowel movements, thereby improving your overall digestive health and helping protect against health issues

Lower Hypertension

Consuming tomatoes frequently reduces the risk of developing hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. This is partially due to the impressive levels of potassium found in tomatoes. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it reduces the tension in blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing circulation and lowering the stress on the heart by reducing hypertension.

Manage Diabetes

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that daily consumption of tomatoes can help reduce the oxidative stress of type 2 diabetes.

Skin Care

Tomatoes aid in maintaining healthy teeth, bones, hair, and skin. The topical application of tomato juice is known to cure severe sunburns. Daily consumption protects the skin against UV-induced erythema. They rank high in the preparation of anti-aging products. Furthermore, an antiperspirant composition for the treatment of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) containing tomato as one of the ingredients was patented by Dr. Audrey G. Kunin, certified dermatologist and Chief Creative Officer of DERMAdoctor, Inc.

Prevent Gallstones

Tomato is a good source of vitamin C and may also help in providing relief from gallstones. There have been various studies to prove their efficacy against many chronic diseases. The antioxidant properties of tomatoes can also be derived from processed foods like ketchup and purees. Daily consumption of tomatoes fulfills the requirement of vitamins and minerals and exerts an overall protective effect on the body.

Side Effects

Tomatoes generally do not pose major side effects to anyone. However, there are certain proteins in tomato that are similar to pollen. This means that people with pollen allergies are more prone to suffering from an allergic reaction after eating tomatoes. The symptoms may include itching, swelling in the mouth or a scratchy throat.

Are Organic Tomatoes Better?

Organic tomatoes, according to a study at the University of Barcelona, are produced in an environment that has a lower nutrient supply since nitrogen-rich chemical fertilizers are not added. This leads to excessive formation of antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol in organic tomatoes. As we know, antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing heart diseases.

On the other side, chemical-based tomato farming involves spraying tomatoes with large quantities of pesticides and insecticides. Tomatoes are a highly sprayed crop throughout the world. Therefore, many organic food lovers believe that they are protected from chemical contamination when they eat organic ones instead. Of course, organic farming is good for the environment as well.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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