Tomato- nutrition, proven health benefits and uses

The scientific name of the tomato is Solanum lycopersicum. Other names include

ARABIC: Banadhurah, Tamatim.
BEMBA: Matimati.
BENGALI: Tamato.
BULGARIAN: Domat, Domaten.
CAMBODIA: Peeng pah.
CHINESE: Fan qie.
DANISH: Tomat (sing.), Tomater (pl.).
FRENCH: Tomate.
GERMAN: Liebesäpfel, Paradeiser, Paradiesäpfel, Rispentomaten, Strauchtomaten , Tomate, Tomaten.
GREEK: Tomata, Tomatas.
HEBREW: Agvaniyat hagina.
KOREAN: Tomato.
LAOS: Khua somz.
MALAY: Terung masam, Tomato, Tomat.
MARATHI: Taamataa.
NEPALESE: Golbhedaa, Raamabhendaa, Tamaatar.
NORWEGIAN: Kulturtomat, Tomat.
POLISH: Pomidor jadalny .
PUNJABI: Tamaatar.
ROMANIAN: Pătlăgea roşie, Roşie, Tomată, Tomată roşie.
RUSSIAN: Pomidor, Tomat, Tomat obyknovennyi.
SERBIAN: Crveni patlidžan, Paradaj.
SHONA: Domasi.
SLOVAKIAN: Paradajka, Rajčiak, Rajčina.
SPANISH: Tomate, Jitomate, Tomatera.
SWAHILI: Nyanya.
SWEDISH: Tomat, Tomater.
THAI: Makhua-thet, Makhua-som, Ma khuea.
URDU: Tamaatar.
VIETNAM: C[af] chua, Ca chua, Ca tomach.

There are about 7,500 varieties of tomatoes. Tomatoes are not vegetable but fruit or berry. It’s color range from yellow green to deep purple. The size and taste of tomato also varies from different variety. Cherry tomatoes taste both sweet and sour than large tomato varieties.

Tomato Nutrition value and facts

The tomato is rich in carotene lycopene, the most powerful antioxidants. The red color found in tomatoes is due to lycopene; therefore, the redder the tomato, the higher the lycopene content. Yellow and green tomatoes are relatively low in lycopene.

Good source of iron and phosphorus, vitamins A and B, and excellent source of vitamin C, and considered deficient in calcium.

Tomatoes are loaded for vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that mops up free radicals.

Tomatoes also contain lycopene, p-coumaric acid and cholorogenic acid, all claims have been made that it might be helpful in reducing cancer risks.

Seeds contain globuline, vitamins A, B, and C, solanine.

A 100 g of tomatoes has about 18 calories. It contain

3.9 g Carbohydrate

1.2 g Fiber (5% RDI)

0.2 g Fat (neg)

0.9 g Protein (2% RDI)

833 IU Vitamin A (17% RDI)

12.7 mg Vitamin C (21% RDI)

0.5 mg Vitamin E (3% RDI)

7.9 mcg Vitamin K (10% RDI)

Thiamin (2% RDI)

0.6 mg Niacin (3% RDI)

0.1 mg Vitamin B6 (4% RDI)

15 mcg Folate (4% RDI)

11 mg Magnesium (3% RDI)

24 mg Phosphorous (2% RDI)

237 mg Potassium (7% RDI)

0.1 mg Copper (3% RDI)

0.1 mg Manganese (6% RDI)

Medicinal properties of tomato

– Considered a mild aperient, a promoter of gastric secretion, and a blood purifier.
– Also considered an intestinal antiseptic, with a cleansing effect in the enteric portion of the intestinal tract.
– Considered antioxidant from the carotene lycopene.

Traditional health uses of tomato

– Pulp and juice are mild aperient.

– Juice used for asthma and bronchitis.

– Used to stimulate a torpid liver.

– Used for anotic dyspepsia.

– Used for biliousness.

– In Cameroon used in the treatment of high blood pressure.

– In Cuba, used as gastric tonic and to improve hematopoeisis.

Scientific proven evidence based health benefits and uses of tomatoes

Lycopene / Hepatoprotective / protects the liver

Lycopene is considered a better antioxidant than other carotenoids. In a study on acute injury caused by oxidant carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), results showed that tomato juice, with its lycopene and ascorbic acid content, exhibited a strong effect on oxidative damage of CCl4 in rat liver.

Lycopene / Prostate Cancer Prevention / No Magic Tomato / A Negative Report

A study reported no significant difference between those who had prostate cancer and those who did not in relation to the concentration of lycopene in their blood stream. In fact, researchers noted an association between beta-carotene, an antioxidant related to lycopene, and an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

Lectins / Mucosal Immunogen/ enhance immunity (immune system)

Lycospersicum esculentum lectins studies suggest it to be a potent mucosal immunogen, enhancing immune responses to antigens.

Tomatoes in Gene Therapy/ brain tumor

Jure Piskur et al from the Lund University, published study results suggesting the tomato could be of value in future treatment of brain tumors.

Antimutagenic / Anticlastogenic

Study evaluated the combined effect of tomato and garlic against DBMA-induced genetic damage and oxidative stress in mice. Results suggest a broad spectrum of antimutagenic and anticlastogenic effects may be achieved through a combination of functional foods.


Radioprotective effects of an aqueous extract of tomato extract was studied in chromosome aberration in cells of bone marrow in irradiated mice. Pretreatment with the extract resulted in a significant reduction in the percentage of aberrant metaphases as well as in the different types of aberration scored. The extract showed not toxicity at 1500 mg KBW.

• Prevention of Lead Adverse Effects

In a rat study, lead was showed to cause significant reductions in many hematologic and laboratory parameters with significant increases in the percentage of neutrophils and plasma malondialdehyde concentration. Tomato paste significantly prevented the effects of lead acetate.

• Decreased Platelet Aggregation

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study evaluated the use of a tomato extract as dietary supplement to prevent platelet aggregation. Results showed significant reductions in es vivo platelet aggregation induced by ADP and collagen. Results suggest tomato extract, as a dietary supplement or functional food, may have a role in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease by reducing platelet activation, which could contribute to thrombotic events.

Biosorption of Nickel / Leaf

Study investigated the biosorption potential of Lycopersicum esculentum leaves powder as a low cost agricultural waste biomass for the removal of Ni(II) ion from aqueous solution. Results showed the adsorption process was feasible, spontaneous, and endothermic.

• Antioxidant Effect on heavy metal lead(Pb) Oxidative Stress

Study investigated the ability of Lycopersicum esculentum on decrease toxic effects of lead acetate on plasma superoxide dismutase, catalase and malondialdehyde in rats. Results showed that Lycopersicum esculentum significantly lowered the adverse effects on Pb oxidative stress.

• Lycopene / Phytomodulatory Against Doxorubicin Induced Nephrotoxicity/ protects kidney against toxicity

Study showed lycopene may be beneficial in mitigating DOX induced nephrotoxicity in mice. LycT intervention to DOX administered mice boosted the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense system which may be helpful in ameliorting DOX induced nephrotoxicity.

Silver Nanoparticles / Antimicrobial

Study reports on the rapid synthesis of very simple and eco-friendly silver nanoparticles from an aqueous extract of L. esculentum. The nanoparticles were bacteriostatic at low concentration and bactericidal at high concentration. Results suggest a potential for the NP to act as preventive for bacterial contamination.

Reduction of Apoptosis and Neurodegeneration in Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to Electromagnetic Field

Study evaluated the chronic effects of EMF on pre- and postnatal rat cerebellum. Results showed reduction of apoptosis and neurodegeneration in rats exposed to EMF with Lycopersicon esculentum extract therapy.

Antiproliferative / Leaves

Study evaluated the antiproliferative activity of tomato leaves extract (var. Paul Robenson) in vitro by MTT assay on three different cell lines: HEK, C6, and MCF-7. Hydrophilic and chloroform extracts exert a cytotoxic activity comparable to cis-platin on C6 (rat glioma) cells.

• Fruitflow / Antithrombotic /promote heart health/ Aspirin Alternative

Study claims that Fruitflow, a tomato extract, can reduce the risk of blood clots, which can trigger heart attacks and strokes. Results of a human clinical trial compares Fruitflow with aspirin, with its ability to reduce platelet aggregation by 28% through three different biologic pathways (vs aspirin, 60% reduction, in a single pathway).

Tips: Soak non-organic tomatoes into vinegar, salt and water for ten minutes to remove dirt, pesticide etc.

Tomatoes recipe ideas and uses

– It’s both fruit and vegetable, eaten raw or as ingredient in countless dishes and sauces.

– Green, used in native pickles, achara.

– Sudanese use the leaves as seasoning for rice.

– Add tomatoes curries, salads and rice dishes.

-Add chopped tomatoes for salsa recipes, guacamole, omelets, and salads. Fold into rice dishes and hummus dips as well.

-Try baked tomato for stuffed dishes, sprinkled with Italian herbs and spices, as a simple appetizer.

-Add tomato rings to sandwiches, quiches, ratatouille

-Sautee tomatoes as part of a stir fry

-Stew tomatoes for marinara and as the basis of many other sauces, be it for Italian pizzas, Moroccan tagine, or for Ethiopian stew.

-Puree tomatoes for pastes and soups. Pureed tomatoes also serve as the basis for creative dessert ideas mentioned above.

-Dehydrate them or add sun-dried tomatoes into dipsflatbread and flax crackers.

Read about other interesting fruits

Acai berry        Ambarella         Avocado           Bael          Bilberry       

Fig            Kiwi            Mangosteen          Miracle fruit            Plum               

 Quince           Rambutan           Roselle      Santol            Sapota         Sea buckthorn

Sour Orange     Soursop       Sweet Lime      Star gooseberry    Star Apple    

 Strawberry       Surinam Cherry       Watermelon       Wood apple

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