Vitamins and Minerals
Found Inside Tomatoes
Tomatoes -- while strawberries are
my all-time favorite fruit, tomatoes are my all-time
Botanically speaking, tomatoes are actually a fruit (more
specifically, a berry) so maybe that is why I'm partial to
Tomatoes are loaded with nutrients our bodies seek,
including valuable nutrients like lycopene, an antioxidant that
protects against some cancers.
Tomatoes can be both nutritious and delicious when
juiced but don't combine them with other
juices (a few exceptions apply - see
Here are a few of the questions we attempt to answer about
- What vitamins in Tomatoes make them so good for
- What is the best method for juicing Tomatoes?
- What are some great buying tips for Tomatoes?
Plus, we'll do our best to provide some general information
about tomatoes that you might not find so easily elsewhere
on the Internet.
Let's begin our exploration of
Vitamins and Minerals
Eaten raw and preferably right from the vine, tomatoes
provide the body with sulfur, phosphorus, and organic sodium.
You also get a very high dose of Vitamin C from eating
tomatoes. Here is a brief snapshot of the vitamins and minerals
found in tomatoes.
Vitamins in Tomatoes
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Folate (important during pregnancy)
- Vitamin B6
Minerals in Tomatoes
- Also contains small amounts of manganese, copper and
Although I prefer to eat tomatoes, they can add a powerful
boost to your daily nutrition through juicing, too.
Tips for Juicing
Juicing your own tomatoes rather than buying store-bought
tomato juice might be a better way to get the full benefits of
tomatoes for those who are closely watching their salt
consumption as most tomato juices in the market tend to have
high sodium content (salt is added during manufacturing).
Here are a few tips for juicing tomatoes that may help turn
your juicing experience into something you look forward to and
As with melons, it is recommended you do not juice tomatoes
with other ingredients. The exceptions might be juicing
tomatoes with celery or cucumber juice.
Do not expect the syrupy, salty liquid that pours from a can
when you juice your own fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes.
Fresh home-made tomato juice using a juicer is thick and
cloudy and tastes far more of the tomato than canned does.
Purchasing Tips for
If you are unable to grow your own, then here
are a few tips for buying tomatoes that may help you get
the freshest ingredients. We'll also include a few storing
tips for tomatoes that you might find helpful.
The best tomatoes have good shape to them and a distinctive
aroma with a deep red color, although they may be yellow at the
Tomatoes should feel heavy and yield when pressed.
Whenever possible buy locally grown, vine-ripened tomatoes.
If they are grown organically, all the better as organically
grown tomatoes tend to have the best flavor (in my humble
Green tomatoes should be avoided as they may be harmful to
Tomatoes bought at the supermarket were most likely picked
green and may have been gassed so that they turned red. This
does not always mean they are ripe (and it rarely means they
taste good). Therefore, you should let overly firm tomatoes sit
out at room temperature for 4 to 5 days to ripen further and
Once an unripe tomato drops below the 54.5
degree F temperature, it will not continue to ripen.
When ripe, store tomatoes for a few days in the refrigerator
or in a cool area. They do not keep very long once completely
This article wouldn't be complete if we didn't
include a little general information about Tomatoes, as well as
a few helpful links if you want to explore tomatoes
More than 125 tons of tomatoes are produced in
the world today with China being the largest producer, followed
by the United States and Turkey.
Genetic evidence shows that the progenitors of
tomatoes were herbaceous green plants with small green fruit
with a center of diversity in the highlands of Peru. These
early Solanums diversified into the dozen or so species of
tomato recognized today. One species, Solanum lycopersicum, was
transported to Mexico where it was grown and consumed by
prehistoric humans. The exact date of domestication is not
Tomatoes, like potatoes, sweet peppers, and
eggplants, belong to the nightshade family. Solanines are toxic
substances present in minute quantities in all members of the
nightshade family; they may trigger headaches in susceptible
Brought to Europe from Central America by the
Spanish during the 16th century, tomatoes were grown as
decorative plants, often referred to as poisonous love apples,
in northern Europe, where it was feared that poisons in the
leaves might be present in the fruit as well.
It was the Spanish and the Italians that
discovered tomatoes were edible. When they immigrated to the
United States, they brought their taste for tomatoes with
Some people believe that the Spanish explorer
Cortez may have been the first to transfer the small yellow
tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of
Tenochtítlan , now Mexico City in 1521. Yet others believe
Christopher Columbus, an Italian working for the Spanish
monarchy, discovered the tomato earlier in 1493.
The word tomato comes from a word in the
Nahuatl language, tomatl. The specific name, lycopersicum,
means "wolf-peach" as they are a major food of wild canids in
South America.The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato
recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had
apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.
Tomatoes are now eaten freely throughout the
world, and their consumption is believed to benefit the heart
among other things.
Recent good health news for men is that eating
tomatoes regularly may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
(Cooked tomatoes appear to be more effective than fresh,
regardless of which variety of tomato is eaten.)
Since "vegetable" is not a botanical term,
there is no contradiction in a plant part being a fruit
botanically while still being considered a vegetable. Perhaps
this is why the tomato has gotten away with being considered a
vegetable for so long?
At the time of writing this article, tomatoes have been
linked to seven salmonella outbreaks since 1990. Watch for our
articles on Food Safety in BLV Health
Sources/Resources for Tomatoes
Be sure to check out both our
"Juicing" and our "Smoothies"
sections for delicious recipes and more using