noun [ C or U]

plural tomatoes

a round red fruit with lots of seeds, eaten cooked or uncooked as a vegetable for example in salads or sauces:

Back in day, a nickname for the tomato was poison apple as it was thought that aristocrats got sick and died after eating them.  However, the truth of the matter was that wealthy Europeans used pewter plates high in lead content and because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on this particular tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning.

Sadly, no one made this connection between plate and poison at the time and the tomato was picked as the culprit leaving many to fear this fruit.

It was also classified as a deadly nightshade, a poisonous family of Solanaceae plants that contain toxins called tropane alkaloids before it eventually made its way to our tables.

But tomatoes are loaded with lots of health benefits as well as being incredibly versatile used in endless dishes being an all-year round fruit and great to enjoy just as a tomato!

There are ,any different varieties of tomatoes from heirloom, cherry, plum, beefsteak, Campari, pear, Brandywine as just a few and come in many colours, red, yellow, purple and green and you can incorporate tomatoes into your diet in a number of ways including using them raw or cooked being added to salads, pasta dishes, pizzas and drinks. 

They are rich in nutrients being a good source of Vitamin C offering a range of benefits to those who eat them.  The benefits vary between type and size of tomato, due to the amount of minerals and vitamins in them and the brightest red ones are more likely to have the highest number of antioxidants.

The vitamins in tomatoes are thought to help maintain healthy blood pressure, support heart health, support normal bowel movements (i.e. prevent constipation), protect the eyes and promote good eye health and help with collagen production for healthy skin, hair and nails.

Best when left at room temperature out of direct sunlight and storing them in the fridge can ruin their flavour.  Cooking the tomatoes will also help release the lycopene and serving them with a splash of olive oil will help your body to absorb this more easily.

Tomatoes should count as one of your five-a-day which is completely safe to eat and an added bonus as they are low in calories and have a high-water content.

However, eating too many of them could cause acid reflux as they contain malic acid and citric acid so consuming too much of these could make your stomach too acidic and cause heart burn or acid reflux.  Also too many tomatoes can also lead to a build-up of kidney stones  as the fruit is rich in calcium and oxalate, which when in excess is difficult to remove from the body and start depositing in the body, causing kidney stones to form.

Lycopene is good for you as a general rule, but not in excessive amounts, so consuming too much lycopene can also be bad for you resulting in lycopenodermia and a discolouration of the skin.

Finally eating too many tomatoes can give you diarrhoea.

Did you know?

  • 94.5% of tomato’s weight is water.
  • Tomatoes can keep longer if you store them with their stem down
  • Tomato is called “tomate” in French and Spanish, “tomaat” in Dutch and “pomodoro” in Italian
  • Leaves of tomato plant are toxic


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