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Superfoods: Tomatoes and Nutrition

Dietitian, Juliette Kellow explains the health benefits and nutritional value of tomatoes another of our superfoods.

The Health Benefits of Tomatoes

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

They’re low in fat, high in fibre and a low-calorie source of many vitamins and minerals, but recent findings suggest tomatoes have another important nutritional benefit – they’re packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that gives them their red colour and may also have a role to play in lowering the risk of cancer.

Studies have shown that lycopene may help to protect against cancers of the prostate, lung, colon, oesophagus, breast and skin.

The most compelling evidence is for the part lycopene plays in helping to prevent cancer of the prostate. Five studies suggest that the risk of prostate cancer drops by 30 to 40 percent when high intakes of tomatoes or lycopene are consumed.

When tomatoes are cooked, some of their water content evaporates with the result that they become more concentrated and therefore a richer source of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Better still, our bodies are able to absorb more lycopene from cooked or processed tomatoes such as ketchup, puree or sauces.

Vitamins A and C are also in abundance, although as cooking destroys much of vitamin C, try and eat a balance of cooked and raw tomatoes.  As a pointer, the redder the tomato, the more beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) it contains.

Other health claims include the ability to regulate blood sugar, a reduction in the effects of stress, a headache cure and even protection against gall & kidney stones.

Tomatoes Nutritional Value

Just one tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes counts as one of the 5-a-day and contains just 15 calories and 0.3g fat. Try snacking on cherry tomatoes instead of crisps when hunger hits or make up a batch of homemade tomato soup to help fill you up.

Nutritional Information

Tomato, Raw, Average.

Percent Calories From:

Carbohydrate 73.5%
Protein 17.5%
Fat 9%
Alcohol 0%

Nutrition Data Per 100g:

Calories (kcal) 18
Carbohydrate (g) 3.92
Sugars (g) 2.63
Protein (g) 0.88
Fat (g) 0.2
Saturates (g) 0.09
Fibre (g) 1.2
Sodium (g) 0.01
Alcohol (g) 0
Fruit & Veg 1.3


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Other Superfoods:

Blueberries | Oily Fish | Avocado | Nuts | Broccoli | Whole Grain | Soya


Keep a Food Diary

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