Tomato is one of the main universal foods spread throughout the world. In addition to its magnificent taste, the tomato properties they also offer a multitude of benefits for our body.
We practically use this vegetable for everything: pizzas, sauces, salads, pasta and a long etcetera. Every day we get more information from scientific research where the multitude of properties of the tomato and its benefits are collected both in the short and long term.
And it is not only due to its nutritional composition, fiber, vitamins and minerals, but to the phytocompounds that characterize many medicinal plants, such as in this case, the lycopene.
However, we would like to analyze different types of tomato, such as fried tomato, tomato juice or natural to see if they offer the same advantages and, above all, the current scientific studies that exist regarding the properties of the tomato.
Nutritional composition of tomato
Let’s start at the beginning.
Let’s analyze what a natural tomato gives us in terms of energy, fats, fiber, etc., vitamins (very important for our health), minerals and, of course, phytocompounds or active components.
Per 100 grams of natural tomato:
- Calorie 18 kcal.
- Proteins 1,1 g.
- Carbohydrates 2.9 g.
- Food fiber: 1.3 g
- Total fat 0.2 g.
- Cholesterol 0 mg.
As you can see, practically no harmful fat and a lot of fiber.
Within the carbohydrates, what the tomato contains the most are different sugars such as glucose and fructose, naturally present in this vegetable, and constitute 70% of the total of these carbohydrates.
Practically everything about the tomato is water. So that you can see it from another perspective, these carbohydrates represent 4% of the total weight of the tomato.
Carbohydrates comprise 4% of raw tomatoes, which equates to less than 5 grams of carbohydrates for a medium sample (123 grams).
Fiber is one of the elements that is most important today, especially in digestive health.
The properties of the tomato provide a good dose of fiber. A medium-sized tomato gives us approximately 1.5 grams of this fiber.
However, it is not necessary to see the total content but the nature of this fiber, since unfortunately almost 90% of the total is insoluble (formed by cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose).
The importance of a food is based on a balanced balance between all vitamin groups and also a good concentration of essential minerals for the body. For every 100 grams, the tomato provides:
|Vitamin A||42 μg|
|Vitamin B1||0.037 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.019 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.594 mg|
|Vitamin B4||6.7 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.089 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B9||15 μg|
|Vitamin C||13.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.54 mg|
If we add comparative values regarding the concentration of vitamins of the properties of the tomato:
Vitamin C: a medium-sized tomato contributes almost 30% of the recommended daily amount.
The rest of vitamins, those of type B and E, the amounts are not excessively important and we have to look for other alternatives
The most representative minerals present in the tomato are the following, per 100 grams.
- Potassium: 237 mg
- Phosphorus: 24 mg
- Magnesium: 11 mg
- Calcium: 10 mg
- Sodium: 5 mg
- Iron: 0.27 mg
- Zinc: 0.17 mg
- Manganese: 0.114 mg
- Copper: 0.059 mg
The amount of potassium what you need per day is 2000 mg, so 100 grams of tomato provide 11.85%. The rest of the mineral elements provide us with between 2.5-5% of the remarkable amounts, so above the rest the contribution of potassium stands out.
Another important issue in the properties of tomatoes is what contributes to compounds known as polyphenols, carotenoids or terpenes, substances that are capable of having antioxidant activity, reducing the presence of free radicals or regulating the production of enzymes in our body.
The main plant compounds present in tomatoes are:
Lycopene is the main component of the tomato, especially its skin. Any by-product of tomato, such as juice, sauces or ketchup, contributes to our diet about 80% of the necessary amount of this carotenoid.
This carotenoid has been extensively studied for its medicinal properties. [Study]
Although we do not want to advance information, it is known that this component is related to an increase in the level of antioxidants in the blood and its possibilities against prostate cancer are studied. Currently the FDA has denied sufficient evidence, so it is still being studied.
One of the main antioxidants and that gives the characteristic yellow or orange color of many fruits. From this substance the body obtains the vitamin A.
A flavonoid compound somewhat unknown to society, but which has demonstrated its potential to decrease inflammation and protect against various cardiovascular disorders. [Study]
The chlorogenic acid present in tomatoes acts as a powerful antioxidant. It has properties to reduce blood pressure
A potent antioxidant compound, chlorogenic acid can lower blood pressure in people suffering from chronic hypertension [Study]
What are the properties of tomato?
Although we have already advanced some of the properties of the tomato when we have described its phytocomponents (carotenes, polyphenols and terpenes), we will show, with hairs and signs, the potential of this vegetable in the multitude of medical and scientific trials carried out.
Tomato is highly rich in antioxidants
Something that we can not deny about the properties of the tomato is its antioxidant potential, attributed especially to the carotenoid lycopene.
To speak of lycopene is to think automatically of red and ripe tomatoes, whose fresh consumption offers us more than 80% of the total lycopene needed.
This substance offers a protective shield against free radicals and directly affects the reduction of the body’s inflammation processes, as has been scientifically proven [Study]
This evaluation comes for its potential to reduce blood levels of proteins associated with inflammation known as adipokines. In turn, it is related to a medium-term reduction in cholesterol and accumulated fat levels.
Inflammatory markers assessed for lycopene response also suffer steep declines, such as falpha tumor necrosis actor (TNF-α), the interleukin 8 (IL-8) and serum levels of 8-oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG). [Study]
May protect against certain types of cancer
Any substance associated with antioxidant compounds is evaluated primarily for its potential in reducing or preventing different types of cancer.
In this case, the properties of the tomato have been evaluated in more than 24 studies for their effect against cancer cells and chemoprotective.
The first results advance in a significant reduction of prostate cancer, at a preventive level. [Study]
Likewise, the concentration of lycopene is the cause of the antioxidant effect, evaluated in the reduction of the development of cancer cells (apoptosis or cell death), so it may also be linked to a protective effect against skin cancer, especially associated with prolonged exposure to the Sun. [Study]
Other studies have observed links between tomato consumption and a reduction in the number of cases of lung and stomach cancer, based on the effect of lycopene. Likewise, its effect against breast cancer in women is also being evaluated. [Study]
However, all these trials need to be evaluated even more in depth and obtain a map of prevention and inhibition of the development of different types of cancer in humans.
The antioxidant effects and low fat content offer protective properties of the cardiovascular system to the tomato.
This type of heart disease is the most common cause of natural death in humans, especially heart attacks and stroke.
Low levels of beta-carotene and lycopene, among other antioxidants, increased the risk of heart attacks and ischemia, according to several prestigious scientific studies. [Study]
In turn, the increase in tomato intake favors the reduction of bad LDL cholesterol and its transformation. [Study]
Patients with excessive accumulation of blood clots, should increase the consumption of tomato, as it offers a protective effect of the inner layer of arteries and blood vessels.
The skin is continuously subjected to dangerous oxidants, including sunlight.
It is increasingly common to suffer burns and generate abnormal development of epithelial cells that end in skin cancer.
Given this, medical authorities have evaluated the protective effect of lycopene and other antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, as a protective effect against cellular degradation and oxidation.
The properties of tomato can have a protective effect against sunburn (beta-carotene), and in turn produces the inhibition of uncontrolled cell multiplication, encouraging apoptosis.
Properties of cherry tomato
When different types of tomatoes are analyzed, they do not show excessive differences in the concentration of fiber, fats, proteins and other compounds. Likewise, the same thing happens in terms of vitamins and minerals.
However, depending on the color of the fruits, they can have a higher concentration of lycopene, beta-carotene and produce a more antioxidant effect, as is the case with blue tomato, a genetic variation seeking to increase the healthy properties of the tomato.
No more beneficial differences have been obtained between cherry and other tomatoes.
Properties of tomato kumato
The darker color of the kumato tomato is due to a higher concentration of anthocyanins compared to other types of tomatoes. These anthocyanins are also present in other blue or dark fruits, such as blueberries, eggplant skin, etc.
Therefore, the antioxidant effect is slightly greater but not significant to choose one type of tomato over another. It is known that anthocyanins are related to better maintenance of vision capacity, in addition to prevention of coronary heart disease.
Properties of dried tomato
The dried tomato comes from a process of dehydration of the normal tomato, retaining most of its properties if said process is carried out with the minimum quality standards.
Therefore, at equal weight, the dried tomato can offer more properties, since it has eliminated its water and weighs less.
However, it is also important to preserve vitamins, most of them soluble in water, so it will always be better to take the natural tomato, at its optimum point of ripeness (higher concentration of vitamins and carotenes, such as lycopene) compared to other variants.
Properties of fried tomato
Fried tomato is a great alternative to consuming tomate in fresh, because it offers us more culinary possibilities compared to the natural.
A study by the Polytechnic University of Valencia shows that the properties of fried tomatoes offer a better response of its antioxidants compared to fresh tomatoes.
Posted in the Journal of Functional Foods, the study reflects that there is a greater protective effect of antioxidants in fried tomatoes due to the probiotic effect of Lactobacillus reuteri , so its digestive assimilation is significantly greater.
However, we must also know that the fried tomato provides other compounds that are not so healthy for the body, and that of course are not present in the porpiedades of the natural tomato.
For example, the high sodium concentration of the fried tomato, since during the cooking process salt is added. 350 ml of fried tomato juice contains about 980 mg of sodium, close to 50% of the recommended daily amount.
On the other hand, many tomato juices also have huge amounts of added sugars, so it is convenient to check the label of the different brands to see their content and make decisions.
Contraindications of tomato
Not everything was going to be magical with the properties of the tomato. Although it is very rare, there is a small part of the population that suffers from tomato allergy
Oral tomato allergy syndrome is caused by the source of the vegetable proteins in this vegetable, causing some discomfort that is not serious but needs to be treated urgently.
Some symptoms of tomato allergy and its contraindications:
- Swelling of the face, tongue and parts in contact with the tomato.
- Coughing, sneezing, and runny nose.
- Rash or hives.
- Itching in the mouth and throat.
- In very rare cases, anaphylaxis