Tomato nutrition facts and benefits

Cooked tomatoes contains an abundance of the carotenoid lycopene - a powerful antioxidant with numerous proven health benefits as we will see below.

We will see how tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, biotin and vitamin K. In addition they are also a very good source of several important nutrients.

Tomato nutritional profile

When it comes to nutritional profile we rely on the excellent food ratings system by the World's Healthiest Foods site.

Their system highlights foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain.

In the process we can identify foods that are rich in particular nutrients.

tomato nutrition


% of daily value

World's Healthiest
Foods Rating

Vitamin C






Vitamin K





Very good



Very good



Very good



Very good

An important fact to note is that vine-ripened tomatoes contain four times the beta-carotene found in green tomatoes.

The reason for this is that juicing vine ripened tomatoes have a great health boosting alkaline effect on the body.

They also contribute to the absorption of calcium and other minerals in your diet.

So what are the associated health benefits of this tomato nutrition?

When we look at the health benefits of tomato nutrition the first thing we need to understand is the importance of lycopene in our diet.

Lycopene is not produced by our bodies, so you can only obtain its benefits by eating foods rich in lycopene.

In tomato nutrition, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant scavenger of harmful free radicals, which are implicated in cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration and other age-related illnesses.

Lycopene is stored in your:

  • pancreas,
  • kidneys,
  • colon,
  • liver,
  • lungs,
  • prostate gland,
  • adrenal gland,
  • skin and testicles.

It is also concentrated in the cells of the heart and can assist in the prevention of heart attacks.

One of the major health benefits of tomatoes are that numerous studies have confirmed that the lycopene content is associated with a reduced the risk of:

  • cervical cancer,
  • colon cancer,
  • stomach cancer,
  • esophageal cancer as well as
  • mouth and pancreatic cancers.

One Harvard study of more than 28,000 women, found women with the highest lycopene levels were about half as likely to develop heart disease over a five year period than women with the lowest levels.

Lycopene prostate benefits

Important evidence of the benefits of tomatoes relates to the fact that numerous studies have confirmed the protective effect of lycopene on prostate cancer in particular.

A review of the research indicate that more than 80 scientific studies have investigated the link between lycopene and prostate cancer prevention.

Tomatoes should be an important food source of lycopene in your diet

In one study about tomato nutrition by Harvard comprising nearly 48,000 men.

It showed that the men who ate more than two servings of tomato sauce a week were up to 36% less likely to develop prostate cancer over a 12-year period than men who ate less than one serving a month.

Observational studies have associated tomatoes with reduced incidences of ´╗┐stomach cancer´╗┐.

tomato nutirion and health benefitsThe brighter red the tomato is the more lycopene it contains

Are tomatoes healthier when cooked or raw?

Because most research attributes the anticancer properties of tomatoes to lycopene it is important to understand the impact that cooking tomatoes have on their lycopene content.

In one Harvard Medical School study, a single slice of raw tomato contained approximately 515 micrograms lycopene.  Compared to this they also found that 2 tablespoons of tomato paste contains 13,800 micrograms of lycopene.

So here we have - in one of the strange exceptions in nature, a situation where it seems that cooked tomatoes provide more lycopene nutrition than the raw product.

Cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw tomatoes because cooking breaks down cell walls thereby releasing and concentrating the carotenoids.

Also remember that the act of cooking will naturally reduce the vitamin C content of the tomato.

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