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5 Amazing Tomato Health Benefits

Tomatoes aren’t just the kings and queens of every home garden: they are a joy to grow and extremely satisfying to consume. Plus, did you know that tomato health benefits are out of this world? So you can enjoy tomatoes knowing that they are the fruits of your labors, delicious additions to most savory recipes, and incredibly healthy for your health. 

Tomato Health Benefits

Keep reading to learn all about the health benefits of tomatoes!

Nutrition Facts

Tomatoes

Let’s start with the precise list of nutrients in this delicious fruit (yes, tomatoes are technically fruits, not vegetables!). They are members of the nightshade family, which means they are unexpectedly related to peppers and potatoes, and traditionally red, even though they come in all shapes and sizes!

A 100-gram raw tomato has the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 18
  • Water: 95 percent
  • The other 5 percent consists of: 
    • Carbohydrates: less than 5 grams, almost 70 percent of which is made up of simple sugars, plus fibers
    • Protein: 0.9 grams
    • Fiber: about 1.5 grams
    • Vitamin C: Almost 30% of your recommended daily intake
    • Other important nutrients including potassium, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, lycopene, and naringenin 

Tomato Health Benefits

Tomatoes

Now, let’s dive into the particulars of tomato health benefits.

1. Vitamins

First on our list of tomato health benefits, let’s talk about vitamins! Tomatoes are an amazing source of several different types of vitamins, and the first vitamin we need to talk about when it comes to the health benefits of tomatoes is vitamin A, which is also known as retinol. Along with vitamin C, vitamin A is essential in the support of your immune system, which guards your body against diseases and infections. Additionally, vitamin A is also important in the health of your eyes, skin, cell reproduction, growth, and some admittedly random linings in your body (like in your nose!). 

Next tomato health benefit is vitamin B! Vitamin B contributes to many different things that have to do with the overall health of your body, and significantly influences your body’s energy, cell metabolism and health, and brain function. Though we don’t need vitamin B in large quantities, it is still an important health benefit in tomatoes. 

Vitamin C is perhaps one of the better-known vitamins out there, especially for their presence in oranges and other citrus fruits. But depending on the tomato variety, one of the health benefits of tomatoes is that one can also provide up to 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C! Oranges, step aside!

So why is vitamin C important? Vitamin C is used to treat the common cold. While it doesn’t cure colds, it supports not just your immune system, but your eyes, skin, cardiovascular system, and the overall health of your entire body, too. No wonder they also sell vitamin C supplements! Adults can draw the benefits of up to two thousand milligrams of vitamin C a day.

Next up is vitamin E! Vitamin E mostly serves as an antioxidant (you’ll learn more about these when you get to lycopene, below), but in summary, vitamin E is involved with elements that are known as “free radicals” and are believed to cause damage to cells that can contribute to serious chronic conditions down the line. Additionally, vitamin D also plays a role in strengthening the immune system, ad cardiac health. 

And last but not least, though vitamin K isn’t regularly found as a food supplements, we’re very glad that they’re part of the health benefits of tomatoes! Vitamin K is fundamental in preventing your body from bleeding too much by supporting the forming of blood clots. That means they’re great for newborns, who run the risk of being vitamin K deficient, and also to treat overdoses from blood thinners. Vitamin K is also important for your bones, heart function, and muscle contractions, and more. 

2. Fiber

Fiber is one of those magical components of tomato health benefits that does a wide variety of great things for your body. Fiber’s primary contribution is in the digestive system. Not only does it regulate your bowel movements (that means it helps with constipation!) but it also makes you feel fuller for longer than if you were eating refined carbs.

This last element means that eating fiber is sure to help you if you’re working to lose weight, because if you really listen to your body after consuming fibers, you won’t reach for those snacks as quickly as you normally do!

3. Lycopene

 Imagine a bright, juicy tomato. Chances are that the fruit appears as a shining red. Do you know what gives most tomatoes this iconic color? Would you have guessed that it’s actually a tomato health benefit? It’s a substance called lycopene, which also protects tomatoes from ultraviolet rays. In fact, in 2011 a study seemed to show that a paste mix of olive oils and tomatoes provides elevated protection from sub damage in addition to contributing to the overall health of your skin. This ability also allows lycopene to protect your own cells from harm. 

Lycopene is an antioxidant, much like the other vitamins listed above. In general, antioxidants fight against “free radicals,” which as mentioned earlier, damage your cells and might be the cause of the development of diseases later on, like cancer. Thus lycopene is known to help prevent prostate, lung, ovarian, and stomach cancer, in addition to diseases related to the colon, breast, mouth, cervix, and more. Plus, the elements that allow lycopene to fight free radicals could also help with gum-afflicting diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. 

That’s a whole lot of good stuff, and we’re not even done yet! Lycopene could also help lower your blood pressure, along with levels of bad cholesterol, which lessens the likelihood of getting cardiac disease. Moral of the story? The health benefits of tomatoes reach far and wide! Plus, experts seem to believe that eating tomatoes is a better way to absorb lycopene than taking supplements. And cooking tomatoes actually causes a higher concentration of lycopene than in raw tomatoes, and makes it easier for your body to absorb some of the health benefits of tomatoes—so get cooking!

4. Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Next tomato health benefit is lutein and zeaxanthin, which are lumped together in a single section because they are both yellow carotenoid antioxidants. Both of these nutrients play an important role in the health of your eyes, like protecting them from harsh blue light emitted from screens; consequently, that also in the prevention of headaches, tired eyes, cataracts, and even more serious macular degeneration. 

Additionally, scientists are studying whether antioxidants in general could prove helpful in counteracting chemicals in some smoke, and thus potentially encourage lung health, help prevent emphysema, and support asthmatic individuals.

5. Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte that supports the tissues in your body by regulating the amount of liquid within your cells. Our bodies need potassium to keep operations running smoothly!

Potential Health Risks from Tomatoes

Tomato health

With all the health benefits of tomatoes, you might be surprised to discover a section called potential health risks, but like any kind of food, there might be adverse side effects depending on your health and predispositions. In general, they are safe for most people, especially because of all the health benefits of tomatoes, but here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare that Caprese salad:

  • The acidity of tomatoes can cause acid reflux in particularly sensitive people.
  • You should only eat the tomato fruit, and never the tomato leaf; the tomato leaf is unsafe to eat, and if consumed in large quantities, it can cause headaches, sickness, and even death.
  • As I mentioned above, lycopene is practically a super antioxidant, but in super-concentrated quantities (like supplements) it could be dangerous to pregnant women.
  • Because lycopene helps lower blood pressure, large doses of lycopene might not be a great idea for people who already have low blood pressure to begin with. 
  • Though it might seem obvious, I should still mention that people with allergies or intolerances to tomatoes should stay away from tomato consumption in any form, even though tomato health benefits are many and varied. If you get skin rashes, an itchy throat, any swelling around your face or in your mouth, or any other uncomfortable sensations right after eating a tomato, chances are that you are allergic to the fruit (you might specifically be allergic to histamine, a compound found in tomatoes), and should keep away. Consult your doctor, and consider getting an allergy test to confirm your suspicion. 
  • Tomatoes are also known to cause allergic reactions just by touching them. They could cause itchiness and swelling of the skin, especially the lips, and might manifest redness around the upper half of your face. I repeat, if this happens, consult your doctor, and get an allergy test!
  • People with chronic kidney disease should also take it easy on their tomato consumption because of the quantity of potassium found in tomatoes.

How to Cook with Tomatoes to Reap the Health Benefits

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an amazingly versatile fruit. You can cut them up into sandwiches, salads, and more. You can make tomato sauce, and freeze it to use in the future for pastas, salsas, and soups. Plus, tomatoes are relatively easy to grow at home! To do so, check out our complete guide on how to grow tomatoes to take advantage of tomato health benefits! 

Remember that some of the health benefits of tomatoes are more concentrated when they are cooked, and also mixed with a little olive oil!

Tomatoes Have Amazing Health Benefits

I hope this post has taught you all of the amazing tomato health benefits and inspired you to thus incorporate tomatoes into your own diet. Remember to consult your doctors if you have any adverse reactions. Next, read everything else there is to know about tomatoes!