Tomatoes 101: Why Tomatoes Are Good For You

By SRK Editor

| Last updated May 22, 2019

tomatoes

The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a fruit from the nightshade family native to South America. Yes, it’s a fruit, despite being generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable.

Are tomatoes healthy? Yes! Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. On top of that, they are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

While usually red, tomatoes can actually be found in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, green, and purple. One of the best things about tomatoes is that the different subspecies of tomatoes have different flavors, making this a delicious fruit to enjoy.

What is inside a tomato?

Tomatoes are roughly 95% water content, and 5% carbohydrates and fiber.

Below are the nutrients in a small (100-gram) raw tomato, according to the United States Department of Agriculture

Calories: 18

  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams

4% of raw tomatoes are carbs, which totals to less than 5 grams of carbs for a medium specimen (123 grams).

Simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose, make up almost 70% of the carb content.

Also, tomatoes are a good source of fiber, providing about 1.5 grams per average-sized tomato.

Oh and let’s not forget about all the vitamins and minerals that tomatoes contain:

– One medium-sized tomato can provide about 28% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient and antioxidant.

An essential mineral, potassium is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention (Source)

Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health.

One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. It’s particularly important for pregnant women. (Source)

In summary, Tomatoes are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and folate.

Health Benefit of Tomatoes

A Healthier Heart

Clinical studies of tomato products indicate benefits against inflammation and markers of oxidative stress (Source). They also show a protective effect on the inner layer of blood vessels and may decrease your risk of blood clotting (Source).

Cancer Prevention

Observational studies have noted links between tomatoes — and tomato products — and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers (Source).

While the high lycopene content is believed responsible, high-quality human research needed to confirm the cause of these benefits (Source).

A study in women shows that high concentrations of carotenoids — found in high amounts in tomatoes — may protect against breast cancer (Source).

Healthier Skin

Tomatoes are considered beneficial for skin health.

Tomato-based foods rich in lycopene and other plant compounds may protect against sunburn (Source).

According to one study, people who ingested 1.3 ounces (40 grams) of tomato paste — providing 16 mg of lycopene — with olive oil every day for 10 weeks experienced 40% fewer sunburns

The Bottom Line

Tomatoes are juicy and sweet, full of antioxidants, and may help fight several diseases.

They are especially high in lycopene, a plant compound linked to improved heart health, cancer prevention, and protection against sunburns.

Tomatoes can be a valuable part of a healthy diet.

SRK menu item with visible tomatoes

At Square Roots Kitchen we love tomatoes, which is why they are an integral ingredient in many of our salads, bowls and wraps.

Not only can you find tomatoes in many of our pre-made recipes, but you can add tomatoes to any of your fully-customizable SRK meals.

Available for dine-in, pick-up, delivery and catering, Square Roots Kitchen is your ideal healthy meal solution in Chicago, especially if you’re looking for something quick, affordable and yet good for your body.

Check out our Catering Page for larger orders, or our home page for pick-up and delivery options, as well as the ability to download our app (available for iOS and Android) for quick ordering on the go!