Health benefits of tomatoes

Whether they’re chopped into a summer salad, blended into a warm tangy soup, baked with a splash of balsamic vinegar or stuffed into a fresh focaccia, you can count on tomatoes for a true taste of summer. What’s more, as well as being wonderfully versatile in the kitchen, there are also many health benefits of tomatoes. These fantastic fruits are a great source of essential nutrients including lycopene – a powerful antioxidant that gives tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables such as red cabbage and watermelon their bright colours.

Health benefits of tomatoes

Lycopene levels in the blood have been found to be higher after eating cooked tomatoes than after eating them raw or drinking tomato juice. The amount of lycopene absorbed by the body also increases if we eat lycopene-rich vegetables and fruit with a little fat, so remember to add a glug of olive oil to your tomato salads or a sprinkling of cheese to your tomato pasta dishes!

Some studies suggest that eating lycopene-rich food may lower our risk of certain types of cancer, particularly cancers of the prostate, lung and stomach. Whilst not any form of substitute for sunscreen, eating a lot of cooked tomatoes daily has also been shown to help protect us against sunburn and skin damage caused by sunlight exposure. A group of women who ate five tablespoons of tomato paste every day with one tablespoon of olive oil for 12 weeks saw a 33% increase in protection against sunburn in the form of less redness.

Wellbeing Wisdom

  • Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene which may help lower your risk of certain types of cancer
  • Tomatoes are also thought to help protect against skin damage from the sun (but not a safe alternative to sunscreen)