As part of a healthy diet, tomatoes have a lot to offer nutritionally. Not only are they sweet and juicy, but they’re also packed with vital nutrients and antioxidants. Because tomatoes are rich in the plant compound lycopene, they have special disease-fighting properties to support heart health and help prevent cancer.
Get more tomatoes into your diet by adding them to salads, wraps, sauces, soups, chili, stews, and salsas. The ways you can enjoy tomatoes are endless.
Whether you enjoy them raw or stewed, tomatoes can even help you lose weight. Did you know that tomatoes can actually help boost your metabolism? It’s true. Keep reading to find out how tomatoes can assist you on your weight-loss journey.
Are Tomatoes Keto Friendly?
Tomatoes are listed as one of the approved fruits that you can safely consume on a ketogenic diet. Both fresh and canned tomatoes are low in carbs, with only 2.4 grams of net carbs per half-cup serving.
How Many Carbs are in Tomatoes?
There are only 3.5 grams of carbs in a whole small tomato. Most of the carbs in tomatoes come from fiber (2.4 grams). Raw tomatoes are made up of mostly water, and only a small percentage of carbs, which amounts to fewer than 5 grams of carbs per tomato.
How Many Calories are in Tomatoes?
One small tomato contains a mere 18 calories. Tomatoes are very low in calories compared to other fruits. An entire cup of cherry tomatoes contains only 27 calories. Two slices, the amount you’d add to a sandwich or burger, provides a mere 6 calories.
|Serving Size: 1 Small Tomato (100 grams)|
|Total Fat 0.2 grams||0 %|
|Sodium 42 milligrams||2 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 3.2 grams||1 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0.9 grams||3 %|
|Protein 1.2 grams||2 %|
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, an important antioxidant associated with a variety of health benefits, including the prevention of cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and vitamin K. Furthermore, tomatoes are a very hydrating fruit, as they’re made up of approximately 95% water.
Packed with Antioxidants
Antioxidants prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and also help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
The powerful plant compounds naturally occurring in tomatoes include:
- Lycopene: A red-pigmented antioxidant that has been linked to disease prevention.
- Beta carotene: An antioxidant in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables that is synthesized by the body into vitamin A.
- Chlorogenic acid: A powerful plant compound that can lower blood pressure and reduce hypertension.
- Chlorophylls: Plant compounds that improve the quality of red blood cells, reduce inflammation in the body and assist in skin healing.
- Carotenoids: Plant compounds that regulate blood pressure and reduce blood glucose levels.
- Naringenin: A flavonoid found in the tomato’s skin that has been linked to decreased inflammation and protects against various diseases.
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Heart attacks and strokes are the leading causes of death. A study conducted on middle-aged men linked low blood levels of lycopene and beta-carotene to a higher risk of heart disease. Tomatoes also show protective effects on the blood vessels, which may reduce the risk of blood clots.
A variety of clinical trials suggest that supplementing one’s diet with lycopene may help lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels. Evidence suggests the consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products is linked to reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Observational studies show that consumption of tomatoes is linked with a decreased risk of prostate, stomach, and lung cancers, due to the presence of lycopene. The high concentrations of carotenoids naturally occurring in tomatoes may also help in the prevention of breast cancer.
Promotes Healthy Vision
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene. These are potent antioxidants linked to eye health. They help protect against cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and UV damage.
Studies show that people who regularly consume the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, both present in tomatoes, had a 35% less risk of neovascular degeneration.
Tomatoes are good for the health of your skin because of their high concentrations of lycopene and other plant compounds. Eating tomatoes regularly may even help protect your skin against UV rays and sunburns. One study showed people who ingested an ounce of tomato paste daily for 10 weeks experienced fewer sunburns than usual.
Tomatoes are generally safe but may cause allergic reactions in individuals who are allergic to grass pollen. Tomatoes are an acidic fruit that is likely to cause acid reflux and heartburn in individuals prone to these conditions.
Tomatoes are high in potassium. High potassium foods should be avoided while taking beta-blocker medications. Individuals with impaired kidney function should also avoid potassium-rich foods, as excess potassium in the blood can be fatal for those with kidney disease.
Tomatoes may contain high levels of pesticide residue, so always wash them well before eating.
Ways to Enjoy Tomatoes on Keto
- Spread hummus on top of tomato slices, sprinkled with black pepper and sesame seeds.
- Add fresh diced tomatoes to your favorite low carb Mexican dishes, burritos and tacos.
- Add tomatoes to egg omelets or quiche for a delicious protein-packed breakfast.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over freshly sliced tomatoes, top with a chunk of mozzarella and season with fresh chopped basil and sea salt.
- Add sliced tomato to salads and lettuce wraps.
- Add canned tomatoes to chili, soups or stews.
- Add canned tomatoes to spaghetti sauce to pour over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Make your own fresh homemade salsa by combining fresh diced tomatoes, with diced onion, peppers, chilies, cilantro and lime.
Are Tomatoes Good for Weight Loss?
Tomatoes are very low in calories and fat. One whole small tomato contains only 16 calories. They’re also high in fiber to help keep you feeling full for longer. Fiber plays an important role in weight-loss by promoting healthy gut bacteria.
Furthermore, tomatoes are much lower on the glycemic index than most other fruits and vegetables. The GI of tomatoes is only 38. This means blood sugar gradually increases rather than spiking. Improved blood sugar control is also linked to weight loss and a reduction in fat storage.
Are Tomatoes Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?
Folate is an essential nutrient that is often taken in supplement form during pregnancy to protect against birth defects.
Folic acid, the synthetic version of folate, is recommended in supplement form to women during pregnancy. However, you can also get a good dose of folate through your diet by consuming foods rich in folate.
Are Tomatoes Good or Bad for Arthritis?
Some people claim that removing nightshade veggies from their diet, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, reduces their inflammation and joint pain due to arthritis. However, there is currently no scientific research to support these claims.
As a matter of fact, tomatoes may actually help reduce inflammation because of their concentrated amounts of lycopene and vitamin C. Additionally, another plant compound found in tomatoes called naringenin is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Are Tomatoes Safe for Diabetics?
Yes, tomatoes are a diabetic superfood because they are a non-starchy fruit with a low GI ranking. Furthermore, a study conducted in 2011 found that consuming two small raw tomatoes daily reduced blood pressure in type 2 diabetics.
Researchers also determined that consuming tomatoes regularly may reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases associated with type 2 diabetes.