Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain a wast number of beneficial micronutrients, antioxidants, and other compounds that improve health and well-being. They are low-calorie food with low glycemic index and hence low glycemic load and can be consumed fresh or processed.
Published: August 30, 2020.
Nutritional Values of Tomatoes
The nutritional values of tomatoes are given in the following table. Values are for 100g of edible tomatoes - note that these values changes and that they are average values of most present nutrients.
|Nutritional values of 100g of tomatoes
Dietary Fibers 1g
Calories 18 kcal
Vitamin A 833 IU
Vitamin C 13mg
Vitamin K 7.9 mcg
Phytosterols 7 mg
Cholesterol 0 mg
Of course, many other vitamins and minerals are present, but their amounts are below 10% of RDA in 100g of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are mostly water, they contain only 18 kcal per 100g of edible portion. With 1g of dietary fibers, they are low calorie, high volume food, highly recommended for weight management. Also, vitamins A, C, and K, plus other vitamins and minerals help maintain overall health.
Note that double-blind studies of tomato's influence on human health are really hard to carry out, especially for groups including individuals having various cancers and other similar health issues.
Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene (lycopene has the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids). These carotenoids may have individual benefits, but also have synergy (act stronger) as a group. The best way to get lycopene (mostly in the skin of tomatoes - giving them their red appearance) is through cooked tomatoes. Tomatoes should be cooked with a little bit of healthy oil (for example - cold pressed virgin olive oil) - such lycopene is easily absorbed and carried into the bloodstream.
Vitamins A, C, E, and K boost the immune system and prevent and help fight free radicals and certain cancers (prostate, pancreas, etc). Also, fibers present in tomatoes are very beneficial for the digestive system by improving digestion and preventing constipation.
Antioxidants and carotenoids protect our cells from destructive free radicals - molecules that can harm cells and damage DNA.
Long story short, tomatoes reduce heart diseases and prevent stroke, they prevent and help fight various cancers, prevent kidney and gall bladder stones, improve the health of skin, hair, eyes, bones, etc., boost the immune system, reduce blood clot risk, etc.
Tomatoes contain no cholesterol (LDL cholesterol is 'bad' cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is 'good' one) and, unfortunately, tomatoes contain no vitamin D - vitamin D can be found almost exclusively in seafood (fish).
Tomatoes also improve the taste of many foods, cooked or raw. If you have a chance to enjoy organic tomatoes from your own garden, do so on a daily basis - include them into your salads, sandwiches, and cocktails whenever you have the opportunity. Although cooking can lead to loss of some vitamins due to the heat, feel free to add unpeeled tomatoes to your dishes - they will improve taste and increase the amount of available lycopene and other beneficial compounds.
If you don't have your own garden, tomatoes can be grown in the pots, indoors, especially cherry tomatoes that can be grown in hanging baskets without any additional support near the windows, with or without artificial lighting.