8 Surprising Benefits of Tomatoes
Jun 10, 2023
Yes, tomatoes are a fruit, but debate aside, they pack a powerful punch. One medium-size raw tomato packs more than one gram of fiber into just 22 calories, according to data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Tomatoes are also rich in potassium, vitamin A, and the antioxidant lycopene. What’s more, tomatoes are compromised of 94 percent water making them the fruit with the highest water count, according to UCLA Health.
Tomatoes are also extremely versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet. Head to the grocery store and you’ll find various options to consume the fruit, including fresh or canned. Tomatoes can also be found in paste or sauce. In fact, tomato paste actually has more concentrated nutrients than raw or canned, according to Jennifer Christman, RDN, the director of clinical nutrition at Optavia, “If you do choose processed tomato products, look for ones without added sugar, salt, and oil when possible,” Christman recommends.
Not sold on the power of tomatoes just yet? Check out these eight reasons tomatoes should be a regular part of your diet.
Tomatoes contain carotenoid lycopene a fat-soluble pigment that gives red fruits their color, according to MedlinePlus. Aside from giving fruits their color, lycopene can shield against oxidative stress, including ultraviolet (UV) damage from the sun.
If consumed regularly, tomatoes may provide an extra layer of protection (in addition to your regular sunscreen) from the sun by acting as an internal sunscreen and potentially preventing sunburn and skin cancer, according to past research.
Skin cancer isn’t the only cancer tomatoes can protect you from. According to research, those who consume tomatoes have lower rates of breast, prostate and lung cancer.
“Lycopene, along with other antioxidants in tomatoes, works synergistically to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals,” Christman says.
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Lutein and zeaxanthin, which can be found in tomatoes, aid in the preservation of eye health and protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Vitamin A is also key for eye health because it can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and help prevent night blindness, according to Michigan State University Extension.
As mentioned before, tomatoes are 94 percent water making them extremely hydrating. However, their hydrating benefits don’t RELATED: Green Tomatoes: A Powerful Cancer Fighter