8 Potential Health Benefits of Tomatoes

You might want to trade your apple a day for another juicy red bite: a tomato. Research has found that the versatile fruit — yes, it’s a fruit, and technically a berry — boasts bountiful health benefits. One medium-size raw tomato packs more than one gram of fiber into just 22 calories, according to data published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with potassium, vitamin A, and the antioxidant lycopene. Tomatoes also have the distinction of being the fruit with the highest water content, according to UCLA Health, which notes that at 94 percent, they are even more hydrating than watermelon.

Tomatoes can be readily found fresh, canned, or in products such as paste or sauce, which makes them easy to incorporate into weekly menus and accessible for most budgets. Tomato paste actually has more concentrated nutrients than raw or canned, says Jennifer Christman, RDN, the director of clinical nutrition at Optavia, but cooking fresh ones down into, say, a pasta sauce, can provide a similar bang by stewing out the water content , past research shows. “If you do choose processed tomato products, look for ones without added sugar, salt, and oil when possible,” Christman recommends.

Here are eight more reasons to add more tomatoes to your diet.

1. Tomatoes Help You Double-Up on Sun Protection

Tomatoes are abundant in the carotenoid lycopene, a fat-soluble pigment that gives red fruits their color, according to MedlinePlus. Lycopene has been found to shield against oxidative stress, including ultraviolet (UV) damage from the sun. In essence, if you eat enough of the fruit, some past research shows it could act as an internal sunscreen by preventing sunburn, and, potentially, skin cancer. That said, research is still ongoing, and a bowl of pico de gallo shouldn’t replace regular liberal sunscreen application.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top