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Tomatoes are a berry-like fruit that grows on vines in warm climates and are typically harvested during hot, summer months. Tomatoes grow all over the world but domestically the best ones come from California, Florida, and New Jersey. Tomates go by the scientific moniker Solanum Lycopersicum and they’re a close relative to the tomatillo, chayote, and eggplant. Tomatoes grow in several varieties such as grape, cherry, beefsteak, and heirlooms to name a few. Tomatoes are a sweet, juicy, red fruit that is commonly served in salads and atop sandwiches and burgers. Finally, tomatoes are a great fruit to add to your diet because they’re loaded with incredible nutrients. Check out some of the wonderful health benefits that consuming tomatoes may yield.
Important Note: Each of the health benefits noted herein is supported by the most current research at the time of this publication.
Tomatoes, no matter the variety, are an incredible source of many significant nutrients. For starters, tomatoes are comprised of 95% water content making them highly hydrating. A single serving of tomatoes contains just 18 calories and less than one gram of fat. Notably, they’re also high in fiber with 1.2 grams per serving; fiber is highly supportive of digestion, gut health, and satiety. Moreover, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, meeting 28% of your daily recommended intake in a single serving. They’re also a rich source of potassium which is good for blood pressure and disease inhibition. Furthermore, tomatoes contain high concentrations of vitamin K which are good for bone health and blood clotting as well as folate which is good for tissue production and cell function. Lastly, tomatoes are a good source of many antioxidants, the benefits of which you can read about below.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Unquestionably, tomatoes are an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all of which have great health benefits.
Packed With Antioxidants
One of the greatest benefits of eating tomatoes is that they’re fraught with many beneficial plant compounds that act as antioxidants. As you likely know, antioxidants effectively fight harmful free radicals that could later lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancer types. The four primary plant compounds found in tomatoes include lycopene, beta-carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid. While each of these antioxidants contributes to the rich color of tomatoes, they also, and more importantly, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, the likes of which lead to disease. Notably, tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene when it comes to fruits and veggies; lycopene is good for sun protection, heart health, and the prevention of certain cancers.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Lycopene as well as the other antioxidative plant compounds found in tomatoes are greatly beneficial in preventing some chronic illnesses.
Improves Heart Health
Another significant benefit of eating tomatoes is that they’re scientifically associated with heart health. Specifically, the lycopene and beta-carotene content in tomatoes reduce oxidative stress, improve cholesterol levels, protect blood vessels, and reduce your risk of blood clots; each of these individual maladies is an indicator of heart disease so including tomatoes in your diet may remediate some of the health concerns that would eventually lead to compromised heart health.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. The antioxidants in tomatoes are a powerful source of protection against both the indicators of heart disease and heart disease itself.
Some studies suggest that eating tomatoes for their antioxidative properties may remediate dangerous cancerous cells. A handful of studies have connected eating tomatoes to the reduction and spread of cancer of the prostate, lungs, and stomach. Scientists attribute the anti-cancer effects of tomatoes to their powerful lycopene content. Furthermore, one study shows that women eating a tomato-rich diet experience a reduced risk of breast cancer.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Thousands of studies tout the anticarcinogenic effects of eating tomatoes.
Good for Skin Health
Although there are only a few studies on this particular topic, it seems that some of the nutrients found in tomatoes may be good for skin care. Again, lycopene along with tomatoes’ other plant compounds are credited with promoting skin health. Specifically, it’s believed that a lycopene-rich diet is essential to protecting your skin from sunburn. Essentially, research suggests that regular tomato consumption may help to better filter UV light-induced sunburn.
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Although it’s a common colloquial assertion about tomatoes, the truth is there’s not much research connecting tomatoes to sunburn protection; more research is needed.
Protects Brain Health
Recent research suggests that a tomato-rich diet may be beneficial to brain health. Some studies have suggested that the antioxidant content, especially the lycopene, in this fruit may protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. One four-year study showed that older subjects who consistently consumed a lycopene-rich diet experienced a slower decline in cognitive function than those with poor lycopene intake. Lastly, the antioxidants in tomatoes reduce oxidative stress that constricts blood vessels thereby reducing your risk for a stroke.
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. While the study of the effect of tomatoes on brain health is a promising one, there are still very few studies on this subject; more research is indicated.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
May Support Immunity
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. Although lycopene is loosely connected to immunity, there is very little research on the connection between the immune system and tomato consumption.
Could Support Male Fertility
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. While a few studies determined a connection between tomato intake and sperm quality, more research is needed to assert this claim with certainty.