Ingredients, Learn, Nutrition, Summer

Tomatoes: Health, Beauty & Nutrition Benefits


Evidence based data provided in this blog post about tomatoes has been taken from third party sources and evidence based studies, all other opinions are our own.

Tomatoes: A mini nutrition guide

Tomatoes. We definitely feel like this is actually a love hate fruit. It is classified as a fruit right? Just joking, that’s what we’re here for. Anyway, we’re actually split on our tomato stance – Shaina loves tomatoes and Saphron is a bit on the fence. But if Saphron can get there, then can’t we all?

Aside from being absolutely delicious (bias Shaina speaking here), these bright fruits also have some major health and beauty benefits. So yes, Saphron will continue to be force fed tomatoes until she enjoys eating them.

As we know this fruit is usually red, but they can also come in a variety of colours including yellow, orange and green. Each tomato variety is packed with its own distinct flavour.

selection of tomatoes

Beauty Benefits of Tomatoes

There’s nothing quite like a vine-ripened tomato, so get your fill in while they’re in season. One superstar benefit about tomatoes is that they help defend against UV damage. Yes, you heard us, these beauties are a sun-defense kicker! The nutrients – lycopene and beta-carotene – are what help defend our skin from UV damage that can cause wrinkles and those age spots we despise (p.s. These are also anti-cancer nutrients). 

Tomatoes: Pollution and our skin

Living in London, we experience a lot of pollution and our skin and hair end up suffering. Fret not, because a simple but delicious fruit can help take some of the strain off of us. As we’ve previously mentioned, the nutrient lycopene is what helps our skin and is used in many facial cleansers and products; just check out Yes To’s full tomato product range!

We are firm believers that you get the most benefits when digesting fruits and vitamins rather than through skin products; but a little extra couldn’t help. If you aren’t a huge tomato skin fan (but seriously try and work through this, because that’s where the good stuff is!) why not peel it and use it as a face mask! It will leave your skin wonderfully refreshed. Tomatoes are also a source of Vitamin A; it’s this vitamin that will help protect your hair from external damages caused by everyday life. 

You obviously can’t eat only one tomato and expect to reap all the benefits. But eating tomatoes regularly can help concentrate the photoprotective benefit in the skin. So get eating and protect yo’ skin. 

We would also like to note that UV rays are not limited to spring and summer. In winter you are still at risk of damaging sun rays! Best to protect your skin all year round either through foods or sun protector. So while tomatoes are a summer ingredient, you can still get winter tomatoes. Aim to keep them in your diet for glowing skin.

Tomatoes are also anti-inflammatory and high in potassium, keeping our electrolytes in balance for a healthy circulation of beauty nutrients! There have been a few links on improved skin health and consumption of tomatoes in certain studies too.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

There are soooooo many health benefits of tomatoes too. Again, we want to state that this is not magic. You’ll reap benefits of foods and natural remedies through consistency and eating as naturally as you can get. This means avoiding tomato products or even the fruit as a whole that are chemically processed. Our bodies are insanely smart and react pretty quickly to things that are good for us and vice versa. If you try to incorporate more tomatoes in your diet, your body will love and thank you. Not overnight, but in the long run, your skin will improve, immune system will be singing and you’ll be glowing.

Eating to maximise nutrition

Eating lighter is a good strategy for supporting your small intestine. It’s very easy to create heaviness or indigestion in the body, which especially awful during hot weather. If you do find yourself in a situation where you’ve eaten too much – guilty – snack on some tomatoes. They’ll help to aid the digestive system and the fibre can relieve constipation too. This is also useful if you’ve had a meal that may have been too spicy! We love, love, love foods with fibre. You guessed it, tomatoes are a great source of fibre at around 1.5g per tomato*

We’ve already discussed that tomatoes are a source of Vitamin A, but they also provide us with many more vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C – helps reduce stress hormones and boosting immunity levels
  • Potassium – beneficial for blood pressure and helps prevent heart disease
  • Vitamin K1 – important for blood clotting and bone health
  • Chromium – can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism
  • Vitamin B9 also known as Folate – important for natural tissue growth and cell function
  • Vitamin A – helps your body’s natural defence

tomato salad

We mentioned earlier that the nutrient lycopene found in tomatoes is good for your skin. But combining tomatoes with other foods can affect the lycopene absorption, consuming the fruit with a source of fat can increase absorption by up to four times! So your classic, tomato and mozzarella is the perfect combination, and it tastes yum. We love pouring olive oil all over tomatoes; the vitamin E found in the oil helps to amplify the damage-preventing actions of Vitamin C.

Wellness and diseases

So let’s talk about the nutrient lycopene in regards to the health side of things. There are many studies that have linked this nutrient to better heart health and prevent the growth of cancer cells**. Cooking tomatoes helps increase the lycopene production, so there are other benefits you can gain even if you don’t like raw tomatoes. Try roasting tomatoes for a lovely addition to breakfast or why not incorporate it into a curry, like our tomato curry sauce with beetroot koftas!

So we’ve spoken about how to digest more of certain nutrients, depending on how they are eaten, but what about the benefits of the nutrients working together? The Vitamin A, Vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes help to decrease cholesterol levels and blood. These three nutrients are also what help tackle heart related diseases in the long run too!

Tomatoes are also known to have a mineral called chromium, which helps in keeping blood sugar levels in check. This is great for people who have diabetes or have a family history of it. Not only this, but the acids found in tomatoes can also help protect the body from the adverse effects of smoking. We’re talking to second hand smokers too – this affects passive smokers, so get some juicy tomato goodness inside you.

Full disclosure, we didn’t think we could write so much about tomatoes, but look where we are and we’ve got to say we’ve never been so excited. Writing this Saphron is already a lot closer to the pro tomato side.

Tomato ingredient guide

Ready to start chomping down on those tomatoes yet? Okay, we’ll now leave you with some inspiration with the following recipes;

Simple Heritage Tomato Salad with Warm Herb Dressing

Quick Tomato Sauce

Warming Cheesy Polenta Bowl with homemade Sweet Sticky Slow Roasted Tomatoes

If you don’t fancy any of our recipes, fear not. Why not get creative with your own tomato dish? Because we’re so amazing, we’ve listed some ingredients that work well with tomatoes below, so let us help you get inspired and drop us a comment for any creations!

  • Anchovies – the perfect umami flavour combo
  • Aubergine – a classic combo, highlighted in many Middle Eastern dishes
  • Avocado (duh)
  • Bacon – highlight those classic BLT flavours, but you know, get a little more creative
  • Peppers
  • Cheese (hard and soft)
  • Chicken – a match for many curry dishes
  • Cinnamon – don’t be fooled, the cinnamon adds a warmth to tomato dishes and can be used to sweeten in place of sugar. Be careful to not be too heavy handed here
  • Fish (white fish preferably)
  • Horseradish – great for a sauce of some sorts
  • Lamb – perfectly lightens and adds a bit of summer to a heavy lamb dish
  • Mushrooms
  • Potato
  • Shellfish
  • Strawberry – not exactly a pairing per se, but substituting! Get wild here
  • Watermelon – try incorporating into a salad or salsa

Don’t forget, there are also your classic combinations of ingredients that go sublimely with tomatoes; basil, onion, lemon, thyme, sage, garlic, coriander, chilli etc. We just thought we’d give a couple ingredients you wouldn’t think to combine.

Is it okay to eat raw tomatoes?

Yes it’s perfectly fine! We 100% recommend eating tomatoes raw. In fact, to better absorb Vitamin C within tomatoes, it’s best to eat them raw, so why not make a quick and yummy tomato salad.

Is it better to eat tomatoes raw or cooked?

This is completely up to you! There is no wrong or right way to eat tomatoes; whether you decide to have them raw or cooked, you’ll still be getting healthy and beauty benefits. 

Just as we highlighted earlier;

  • For more Vitamin C, eat them raw
  • For increased lycopene, cooking them is better – but this reduces the amount of Vitamin C found in the fruit

Although cooked tomatoes do contain higher lycopene, a lot of commercialised tomato products in supermarkets nowadays are still heavily processed. We will always recommend to consume fresh, whole tomatoes where possible – unless you’re cooking tomato sauce from scratch at home!

A note from Saphron & Shaina

Please note that tomatoes you buy in supermarkets are more often than not harvested while still green and immature. Supermarket tomatoes are usually ripened through an artificial process using ethylene gas leading to less flavour development resulting in bland tomatoes. We like to buy tomatoes locally or at farmers markets to ensure we get the freshest ingredients with maximum nutrients. You’re always likely to get a range of tomatoes to choose from, especially those beautiful shapes and colours! So support your local when and where you can.

We wrote this blog post with the aid of Jolene Hart’s Eat Pretty book. Other data pieces were aided by Healthline’s article on tomatoes.




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