Tomatoes are one of the low-calorie vegetables; hold just 18 calories per 100 g. They are also very low in fat contents and have zero cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, they are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. On account of their all round qualities, dieticians and nutritionists often recommend them in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction diet programs.
The antioxidants present in tomatoes are scientifically found to be protective against cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic tumors. Total -ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) in this vegetable is 367 µmol TE/100 g.
Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, is a unique phytochemical compound found in the tomatoes. Red variety fruits tend to possess more of this antioxidant. Together with carotenoids, lycopene may help protect cells and other structures in the human body from harmful oxygen-free radicals. Studies shows that lycopene protects the skin from ultra-violet (UV) rays and thus offers some defence against skin cancer.
Zea-xanthin is another flavonoid compound present abundantly in this vegetable. Zea-xanthin helps protect eyes from “age-related macular related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly persons by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.
It contains very good levels of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as a and ß-carotenes, xanthins and lutein. Altogether, these pigment compounds are found to have antioxidant properties and take part in night-vision, maintenance of healthy mucusa and skin, and bones. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids is known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Additionally, they are also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (provide 21% of recommended daily levels per 100 g); consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
Fresh tomato is very rich in potassium. 100 g contain 237 mg of potassium and just 5 mg of sodium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure caused by sodium.
Further, they carry average levels of vital B-complex vitamins such as folates, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin as well some essential minerals like iron, calcium, manganese and other trace elements.
See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), red, ripe, raw,
Nutrition value per 100 g.(Source: USDA National Nutrient database)