This post is part of our Because of Plants campaign: a way to show love for the full life a plant-rich diet gives us.
If you are looking for antioxidants, a heart-healthy snack, and a power source of nutrients, look no further than the tomato!
Juicy and full of flavor, tomatoes are popular ingredients known for brightening up a plate, completing a pizza, and causing the classic fruit vs. veggies debate (psst, it depends who you ask). In fact, according to Statista, the average American consumed 19.32 tomatoes in 2020, making it the second most consumed vegetable in the United States. Onions earned the top spot.
But what makes tomatoes so special and what exactly are the health benefits? We’ll break down the benefits, fun facts, and our favorite plant-based recipes with tomatoes. One thing’s for sure: you’ll have a whole new appreciation for this edible berry… or veggie!
What are the nutritional facts for tomatoes?
First, did you know that a tomato is 95% water? But they’re not only extremely hydrating, they’re also full of the below vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin A: Especially important for vision (helps prevent night blindness), the immune system, and healthy cell growth
Vitamin B6: Associated with brain development and proper functioning of the nervous system and immune system
Vitamin B9 or folic acid: Helps with healthy cell growth and function, and is important for red blood cell formation
Vitamin C: Helps maintain bones, skin, and blood vessels
Vitamin K: Integral with blood clotting and heart and bone health
Manganese: A mineral needed for proper functioning of the brain, nervous system, along with many of the body’s enzyme systems
Potassium: Associated with the kidneys, heart, and muscles, and the transmission of messages through the nervous system
Additionally, tomatoes are known for being a great food for weight maintenance and optimum health. For example, a serving of tomatoes (about 5 ounces) has 26.8 calories, 5.8g carbs, and 1.8g of fiber.
What are the health benefits we can experience because of tomatoes?
As you can see, tomatoes are packed with essential nutrients and minerals that serve a variety of key purposes for the body including:
Boosting heart health
Improving eye health
Aiding with healthy skin
Helping the nervous system & the immune system function properly
Supporting bone health
Tomatoes also have antioxidants (like lycopene), which help prevent diseases like osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Plus, since tomatoes are high in water, they may help relieve constipation and prevent dehydration. Other water-rich food sources include: watermelon, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, and broths.
Fun fact: the scientific name for the tomato is Lycopersicon lycopersicum, which means, “wolf peach.”
Delicious tomato recipes you’ll want to make on repeat
When it comes to preparing tomatoes, they’re very easy to incorporate into a wide range of recipes. Whether you want to chop them into a salad, mix them in a Bloody Mary, or top them on a pasta dish. One of our favorite Swich recipes with tomato is The BEST Plant-Based Bolognese. Once you make it for yourself, we think you’ll agree with its name!
The hearty and healthy dish is made with tofu, lentils, walnuts, and, of course, tomatoes. Also, if you have leftovers of the sauce, it will keep for several days in the fridge or you can freeze it for a dish weeks (or even months) in the future.
Looking for more recipes with tomatoes as central ingredients? Check out:
Come along – cook with Swich!
If you want to cook with more plants —including tomatoes—for a better and healthier life, Swich is here to help you. No matter if you’ve been cooking for decades or days, we help you improve your cooking intuition and increase the amount of fruits and veggies you eat. Your experience is customized to your cooking skill level, your health goals, and your food preferences.
The best part: Swich is free, since we’re powered by Rouxbe, the world’s leading culinary school with more than 600,000 students.
Ready for more plant inspiration? Check out these plant-based side dishes and this guide to meat substitutes & plant protein sources.
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