The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a fruit from the nightshade household native to South America.
Regardless of botanically being a fruit, it’s usually eaten and ready like a vegetable.
Tomatoes are the key dietary supply of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many well being advantages, together with decreased danger of coronary heart illness and most cancers.
They’re additionally an important supply of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin Okay.
Often purple when mature, tomatoes may are available a wide range of colours, together with yellow, orange, inexperienced, and purple. What’s extra, many subspecies of tomatoes exist with totally different shapes and taste.
This text tells you every little thing it’s essential to find out about tomatoes.
The water content material of tomatoes is round 95%. The opposite 5% consists primarily of carbohydrates and fiber.
Listed here are the vitamins in a small (100-gram) uncooked tomato (1):
- Energy: 18
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.9 grams
- Sugar: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Fats: 0.2 grams
Carbs comprise 4% of uncooked tomatoes, which quantities to fewer than 5 grams of carbs for a medium specimen (123 grams).
Easy sugars, akin to glucose and fructose, make up virtually 70% of the carb content material.
Tomatoes are a great supply of fiber, offering about 1.5 grams per average-sized tomato.
A lot of the fibers (87%) in tomatoes are insoluble, within the type of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin (2).
Contemporary tomatoes are low in carbs. The carb content material consists primarily of easy sugars and insoluble fibers. These fruits are largely made up of water.
Tomatoes are a great supply of a number of nutritional vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is a vital nutrient and antioxidant. One medium-sized tomato can present about 28% of the Reference Each day Consumption (RDI).
- Potassium. An important mineral, potassium is useful for blood strain management and coronary heart illness prevention (3).
- Vitamin K1. Also referred to as phylloquinone, vitamin Okay is necessary for blood clotting and bone well being (4, 5).
- Folate (vitamin B9). One of many B nutritional vitamins, folate is necessary for regular tissue progress and cell operate. It’s significantly necessary for pregnant girls (6, 7).
Tomatoes are a great supply of a number of nutritional vitamins and minerals, akin to vitamin C, potassium, vitamin Okay, and folate.
The content material of nutritional vitamins and plant compounds in tomatoes can fluctuate drastically between varieties and sampling durations (8, 9, 10).
The principle plant compounds in tomatoes are:
- Lycopene. A purple pigment and antioxidant, lycopene has been extensively studied for its useful well being results (11).
- Beta carotene. An antioxidant that usually offers meals a yellow or orange hue, beta carotene is transformed into vitamin A in your physique.
- Naringenin. Present in tomato pores and skin, this flavonoid has been proven to lower irritation and shield in opposition to numerous ailments in mice (12).
- Chlorogenic acid. A strong antioxidant compound, chlorogenic acid could decrease blood strain in folks with elevated ranges (13, 14).
Chlorophylls and carotenoids like lycopene are liable for the wealthy shade of tomatoes.
When the ripening course of begins, the chlorophyll (inexperienced) is degraded and carotenoids (purple) are synthesized (15, 16).
Lycopene — essentially the most ample carotenoid in ripened tomatoes — is especially noteworthy in the case of the fruit’s plant compounds.
It’s discovered within the highest concentrations within the pores and skin (17, 18).
Usually, the redder the tomato, the extra lycopene it has (19).
Tomato merchandise — akin to ketchup, tomato juice, tomato paste, and tomato sauces — are the richest dietary sources of lycopene within the Western weight loss program, offering over 80% of dietary lycopene in the USA (20, 21).
Gram for gram, the quantity of lycopene in processed tomato merchandise is commonly a lot larger than in contemporary tomatoes (22, 23).
For instance, ketchup boasts 10–14 mg of lycopene per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), whereas one small, contemporary tomato (100 grams) holds just one–8 mg (24).
Nevertheless, needless to say ketchup is commonly consumed in very small quantities. Thus, it might be simpler to bump up your lycopene consumption by consuming unprocessed tomatoes — which even have far much less sugar than ketchup.
Different meals in your weight loss program could have a robust impact on lycopene absorption. Consuming this plant compound with a supply of fats can improve absorption by as much as 4 instances (25).
Nevertheless, not everybody absorbs lycopene on the identical charge (26).
Although processed tomato merchandise are larger in lycopene, it’s nonetheless really helpful to eat contemporary, complete tomatoes at any time when doable.
Lycopene is without doubt one of the most ample plant compounds in tomatoes. It’s discovered within the highest concentrations in tomato merchandise, akin to ketchup, juice, paste, and sauce.
Consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based merchandise has been linked to improved pores and skin well being and a decrease danger of coronary heart illness and most cancers.
Coronary heart well being
Coronary heart illness — together with coronary heart assaults and strokes — is the world’s commonest reason for dying.
A examine in middle-aged males linked low blood ranges of lycopene and beta-carotene to elevated danger of coronary heart assaults and strokes (27, 28).
Growing proof from scientific trials means that supplementing with lycopene could assist decrease LDL (dangerous) ldl cholesterol (29).
Scientific research of tomato merchandise point out advantages in opposition to irritation and markers of oxidative stress (30, 31).
Additionally they present a protecting impact on the interior layer of blood vessels and will lower your danger of blood clotting (32, 33).
Most cancers prevention
Most cancers is the uncontrolled progress of irregular cells that unfold past their regular boundaries, typically invading different elements of the physique.
Observational research have famous hyperlinks between tomatoes — and tomato merchandise — and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and abdomen cancers (34, 35).
Whereas the excessive lycopene content material is believed accountable, high-quality human analysis wanted to verify the reason for these advantages (36, 37, 38).
A examine in girls reveals that prime concentrations of carotenoids — present in excessive quantities in tomatoes — could shield in opposition to breast most cancers (39, 40).
Pores and skin well being
Tomatoes are thought-about useful for pores and skin well being.
Tomato-based meals wealthy in lycopene and different plant compounds could shield in opposition to sunburn (41, 42).
In keeping with one examine, individuals who ingested 1.3 ounces (40 grams) of tomato paste — offering 16 mg of lycopene — with olive oil each day for 10 weeks skilled 40% fewer sunburns (43).
Research present that tomatoes and tomato merchandise could scale back your danger of coronary heart illness and a number of other cancers. This fruit can also be useful for pores and skin well being, as it might shield in opposition to sunburns.
When tomatoes begin to ripen, they produce a gaseous hormone referred to as ethylene (44, 45).
Commercially grown tomatoes are harvested and transported whereas nonetheless inexperienced and immature. To make them purple earlier than promoting, meals firms spray them with synthetic ethylene fuel.
This course of inhibits the event of pure taste and will end in tasteless tomatoes (46).
Subsequently, regionally grown tomatoes could style higher as a result of they’re allowed to ripen naturally.
Should you purchase unripened tomatoes, you may pace up the ripening course of by wrapping them in a sheet of newspaper and protecting them on the kitchen counter for just a few days. Simply be sure to test them each day for ripeness.
Tomatoes are sometimes harvested whereas nonetheless inexperienced and immature, then ripened artificially with ethylene fuel. This will result in much less taste growth, leading to bland tomatoes.
Tomatoes are usually effectively tolerated and tomato allergy may be very uncommon (47, 48).
Though tomato allergy is uncommon, people allergic to grass pollen usually tend to be allergic to tomatoes.
This situation is named pollen-food allergy syndrome or oral-allergy syndrome (49).
In oral-allergy syndrome, your immune system assaults fruit and vegetable proteins which are much like pollen, which results in allergic reactions like itching within the mouth, scratchy throat, or swelling of the mouth or throat (50).
Folks with latex allergy may expertise cross-reactivity to tomatoes (51, 52).
Tomatoes are usually effectively tolerated however could trigger allergic reactions in folks allergic to grass pollen.
Tomatoes are juicy and candy, stuffed with antioxidants, and will assist combat a number of ailments.
They’re particularly excessive in lycopene, a plant compound linked to improved coronary heart well being, most cancers prevention, and safety in opposition to sunburns.
Tomatoes is usually a beneficial a part of a nutritious diet.