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Tomato, native to south America, is a herbaceous plant which is scientifically named as 'Solanum lycopersicum'. Tomatoes are savory in flavor and are grown worldwide with thousands of cultivar. Cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, plum tomatoes, roma type tomatoes are some common varieties of tomatoes. Almost all tomatoes ripen to a distinctive red color but a number of cultivars with yellow, orange, pink, purple, green, black or white fruit are also available.

Calories
  • Red cherry tomatoes, Ripe, Raw, 1 cup, 149 gm: 27 calories
  • Red, Ripe, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt, 1 cup, 240 gm: 43 calories
  • Yellow, Raw, 1 cup, chopped, 139 gm: 21 calories
  • Canned, Tomato Paste, With Salt Added, half cup, 131 gm: 107 calories
  • Tomato Juice, Canned, With Salt Added, 1 cup, 243 gm: 41 calories
The above information about calories in tomatoes makes it clear that tomato is a low-calorie food.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup cherry tomatoes (149 gm) contain:
  • Calories: 26.8
  • Protein: 1.3 gm
  • Vitamin A: 1241 IU
  • Vitamin C: 18.9 mg
  • Vitamin E: 0.8 mg
  • Vitamin K: 11.8 mcg
  • Thiamine: 0.1 mg
  • Niacin: 0.9 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
  • Folate: 22.3 mcg
  • Pantothenic acid: 0.1 mg
  • Choline: 10.0 mg
  • Betaine: 0.1 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 5.8 gm
  • Dietary fiber: 1.8 gm
  • Sugars: 3.9 gm
  • Total fat: 0.3 gm
  • Total omega 3 fatty acids: 4.5 mg
  • Total omega 6 fatty acids: 119 mg
  • Calcium: 14.9 mg
  • Iron: 0.4 mg
  • Magnesium: 16.4 mg
  • Phosphorus: 35.8 mg
  • Potassium: 353 mg
  • Sodium: 7.5 mg
  • Zinc: 0.3 mg
  • Copper: 0.1 mg
  • Manganese: 0.2 mg
  • Fluoride: 3.4 mcg
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Phytosterols: 10.4 mg
  • Water: 141 gm
  • Ash: 0.7 gm
Thus, it is clear that tomatoes are low in sodium and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Tomatoes are rich in a number of vitamins such as vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol), thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and various minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Tomato is said to be a very good supplier of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and manganese. A large portion of the calories in tomatoes come from sugars.

Health Benefits

Being low in calories, tomatoes can be included in any weight loss diet. Potassium from tomatoes helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Regular consumption of tomatoes without the seeds helps lower the risk of forming kidney stones and gallstones.

The antioxidants present in tomatoes help protect against various types of cancers like colon, prostate, breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. The antioxidant vitamin C strengthens your immune system and helps prevent cancer by inhibiting the growth of free radicals.

Phytochemicals like lycopene and carotenoids from tomatoes can protect body cells from oxygen free radicals. Red tomatoes are especially packed with the most powerful flavonoid antioxidant lycopene which reduces the chances of having prostate cancer. According to the researches, lycopene also protects skin from damage due to UV rays.

Tomatoes are good sources of vitamin A and flavonoids like alpha and beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein, which have antioxidant properties and they play an important role in vision. Vitamin A can make mucus membranes healthy and can tone your skin. Flavonoids helps to reduce the chances of lung and oral cavity cancers.

Vitamin K is essential for proper clotting of blood to avoid hemorrhages. Folate reduces the chances of birth defects in an infant, if the mother consumes tomatoes regularly during and before pregnancy.

Instead of fiercely debating over the topic, whether tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, it is beneficial to consume tomatoes regularly. You may eat raw, cooked, dried and powdered tomatoes or you may enjoy a glass of fresh tomato juice. To avail maximum health benefits, eating fresh and raw tomatoes is recommended. As you now know about tomato calories and health benefits, you can incorporate tomatoes in your diet and lead a healthy life.