The tomato is native to the Americas but was thought to be poisonous and wasn't eaten here until just over 100 years ago, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Today, American farmers grow millions of tons of tomatoes each year for people to enjoy. Low in calories and rich in nutrients, the tomato makes a healthy addition to your diet.
Low in Calories But Still Satiating
If you're trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, you can't go wrong eating tomatoes. Not only are they low in calories, but they're filling, too. One large tomato, 3 inches in diameter and weighing 182 grams, has 33 calories. With 0.2 calorie per gram, the tomato is considered a low-energy-dense food, which means it has few calories compared to its serving size. Including more low-energy-dense foods in your diet keeps you feeling full while helping you limit calories. .
Mostly Carbs With Some Protein and Fat
Most of the calories in the tomato come from its carb content, with the rest coming from protein and fat. One large tomato contains 7 grams of carbs, 1.6 grams of protein and 0.4 gram of fat. The carbs in the tomato provide your body with energy, the protein helps repair tissue and the fat helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Tomatoes also contain fiber, with 2.2 grams in one large tomato. Getting more fiber in your diet may decrease your risk of heart disease and obesity.
Rich in Antioxidants
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C, antioxidants that protect your cells from oxidative damage. One large tomato contains 25 milligrams of vitamin C and 1,516 international units of vitamin A. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes its red color. The American Cancer Society says that people who eat a diet rich in tomatoes have lower rates of a number of different types of cancer, including prostate, lung and stomach.
High in Potassium
Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps build protein and muscle, maintain acid-base balance and regulate the electrical activity of the heart. One large tomato contains 431 milligrams of potassium. Upping the amount of potassium in your diet from healthy foods like tomatoes may help you gain better control over your blood pressure, says the American Heart Association. However, if you have kidney disease or a history of elevated levels of potassium in your blood, you should talk to your doctor before adding tomatoes to your daily diet.