Tomato Health Benefits is a juicy, nutritious fruit commonly eaten as a vegetable, is another wonderful gift of the Mayans to the world. This humble vegetable of Central America has seized the attention of millions of health seekers for its incredible nutritional properties. Interestingly, it has more health-benefiting compounds than that of some popular fruits like apple!
Types/ Category of Tomato with Tomato Health Benefits
Tomato varieties can be divided into categories based on shape and size.
- Beefsteak tomatoes – are 10 cm (4 in) or more in diameter, often used for sandwiches and similar applications. Their kidney-bean shape, thinner skin, and shorter shelf life make commercial use impractical.
- Plum tomatoes – or paste tomatoes (including pear tomatoes), are bred with a lower water higher solids content for use in tomato sauce and paste, for canning and sauces and are usually oblong 7–9 cm (3–4 in) long and 4–5 cm (1.6–2.0 in) diameter; like the Roma-type tomatoes, important cultivars in the Sacramento Valley.
- Cherry tomatoes are small and round – often sweet tomatoes, about the same 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) size as the wild tomato.
- Grape tomatoes – are smaller and oblong, a variation on plum tomatoes.
- Campari tomatoes – are sweet and noted for their juiciness, low acidity, and lack of mealiness, bigger than cherry tomatoes, and smaller than plum tomatoes.
- Tomberries – tiny tomatoes, about 5 mm in diameter
- Oxheart tomatoes can range in size up to beefsteaks – and are shaped like large strawberries.
- Pear tomatoes are pear-shaped and can be based upon the San Marzano types for a richer gourmet paste.
- “Slicing” or “globe” tomatoes are the usual tomatoes of commerce, used for a wide variety of processing and fresh eating. The most widely grown commercial tomatoes tend to be in the 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 in) diameter range.
Nutritional Value of Tomato & Tomato Health Benefits
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||74 kJ (18 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||1.2 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Tomato Health Benefits
- Vitamin C – An essential nutrient and antioxidant. One medium sized tomato can provide about 28% of the recommended daily intake.
- Potassium: An essential mineral, beneficial for blood pressure control and cardiovascular disease prevention (4).
- Vitamin K1: Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K is important for blood coagulation and bone health (5, 6).
- Folate (B9): One of the B-vitamins, important for normal tissue growth and cell function (7). It is particularly important for pregnant women (8).
- Cervical cancer – Some limited evidence suggests that eating more tomatoes is associated with a lower chance of developing cervical cancer.
- Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) – Research findings on the effect of tomatoes on colorectal cancer risk disagree. Some studies find that tomatoes or tomato-based products may help to reduce the chance of getting this type of cancer, but other studies that some scientists think are better designed find no benefit.
- Stomach cancer – So far, research studies do not agree on whether or not tomatoes or tomato-based products can help prevent stomach cancer.
- Lung cancer – There are mixed findings on the effect of eating tomatoes on lung cancer. Some research concludes that tomatoes or tomato-based products can help prevent lung cancer. But these studies have been criticized because they didn’t take people’s smoking behavior into account. Higher quality, large-scale studies do not show any link between eating tomato products and lung cancer risk (9),
- Ovarian cancer – Some research suggests that eating more tomato or drinking more tomato juice does not seem to prevent ovarian cancer; however, consuming tomato sauce two or more time per week does seem to lower the risk of getting ovarian cancer. Other evidence suggests that increased dietary intake of lycopene, particularly from tomato sauce, is associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer in younger (pre-menopausal) women.(10)
- Pancreatic cancer – Study results disagree about the effect of tomato on pancreatic cancer risk. One large-scale study shows that eating a tomato or tomato-based products does not seem to prevent pancreatic cancer. However, other studies suggest that raw tomato intake, and high tomato intake in general, is associated with a reduced chance of developing pancreatic cancer. (11)
- Prostate cancer – Study results disagree about the effect of tomato on prostate cancer risk. Some research suggests that the risk of getting prostate cancer is decreased modestly in men who eat tomato products, including tomatoes, tomato sauce, pizza, or tomato juice, one time or more per week. However, other research finds no benefit.
- Antioxidant Agent – Tomato contains a large amount of lycopene, 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, cervical cancer, cancer of the stomach and rectum as well as pharynx and esophageal cancers. It also protects against breast and mouth cancer, according to studies published by the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals – A single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which prevents cancer-causing free radicals from damaging the body’s systems. It also contains abundant 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 abundant in tomatoes.
- Protect the Heart – The lycopene in tomatoes prevents serum lipid oxidation, thus exerting a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. A regular consumption of tomatoes has been proven to decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol and in the blood. 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 Cigarette – The coumaric acid and acid, in tomatoes, fight against nitrosamines, which are the main found in cigarettes. The presence of vitamin A in high quantities has been shown to reduce the effects of carcinogens and can protect you against lung cancer.
- 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 both constipation and diarrhea. They also prevent jaundice and effectively remove toxins from the body. Furthermore, they have a large amount of fiber, which can bulk the bowels and reduce symptoms of . 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 you avoid conditions like colorectal cancer.
- Lower Hypertension – Consuming a tomato daily reduces the risk of developing , 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 eliminating hypertension.
- Manage Diabetes – A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that daily consumption of tomatoes reduces the oxidative stress of type 2 diabetes.
- Skin Care – Tomatoes aid in maintaining healthy teeth, bones, hair, and skin. Topical application of tomato juice is even known to cure severe sunburns. Daily consumption protects the skin against UV-induced erythema. They rank high in the preparation of anti-aging products.
- Prevent Urinary Tract Infections – Tomato intake reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections, as well as bladder cancer. This is because tomatoes are high in water content, which can stimulate urination; hence, they are a diuretic. This increases the elimination of toxins from the body, as well as excess water, salts, uric acid, and some fats as well!
- High blood pressure – Preliminary evidence suggests that a specific tomato extract (Lyc-O-Mato) might modestly lower blood pressure in people with mild, untreated high blood pressure. (19)
- Cataracts – Eating more than 3 servings of tomatoes each week may help to prevent cataracts.
- Asthma – Early research suggests that taking a specific tomato extract (Lyc-O-Mato) seems to reduce symptoms in people who get asthma attacks after or during exercise.
- Preventing bladder cancer.
- Preventing breast cancer.
- Preventing diabetes.
- Common cold.
- Digestive disorders.