Health Benefits of Cherry Tomatoes

Delightfully sweet, cherry tomatoes deliver a burst of flavor as a snack, in salads, or in a surprising variety of both savory and sweet dishes. Although typically used as a vegetable, they are officially a type of fruit because they come from flowers.

The cherry tomato was first cultivated in South America and eventually found its way into European and Israeli gardens. They were finally commercialized by British grocery chain Marks & Spencer during the 20th century. The store's owner sought a new take on commercialized tomatoes to entice customers.

Now popular as both a snack or primary meal ingredient, cherry tomatoes are one of the most well-loved types of produce you can find in grocery stores today.

Health Benefits

Cherry tomatoes are chock full of vitamins and minerals that promote excellent health. They are packed with vitamin C, which plays a major part in many body functions. The nutrient levels in cherry tomatoes can vary based on when you harvest them, but they can still be an important part of a healthy diet any time of the year.

Other health benefits of cherry tomatoes include:

Stroke Prevention

Like other types of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene. This compound can help with issues like inflammation and blood clotting. These benefits may minimize your risk of ischemic strokes, which occur when blood clots form and prevent blood flow to the brain.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Several compounds in cherry tomatoes are associated with a lower risk of multiple diseases, including many types of cancer. Research suggests that a higher intake of tomatoes and tomato products may reduce your risk of prostate cancer in particular.

Bone Health

The lycopene in cherry tomatoes may support bone health, especially in women at risk of osteoporosis. A study found that women who consumed tomato products saw lower rates of bone density loss compared to those who consumed less lycopene.

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Nutrition

Cherry tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is great at fighting free radicals that cause disease. Lycopene can also limit UV damage to your skin from sun exposure and promote better heart health.

Cherry tomatoes are also an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A one-cup serving of cherry tomatoes contains:

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams

Things to Watch Out For

Eating too many cherry tomatoes can give you acid reflux and other negative digestive side effects. This may be due to the malic acid in cherry tomatoes.

How to Prepare Cherry Tomatoes

You can find cherry tomatoes year-round in grocery stores, co-ops, farmer's markets, and several other locations. They are also notoriously easy to grow in backyard gardens — or even as potted plants. Expose them to plenty of sun and water, and you'll be rewarded with a healthy treat you can enjoy right off the plant.

Most recipes that use cherry tomatoes call for raw ones, but they can also be steamed, sauteed, or roasted. Cooking them can reduce the amount of vitamin C they contain, but it may actually boost the other antioxidants your body can absorb.

Try some of these ways to add cherry tomatoes in your diet:

  • Enjoy cherry tomatoes as a snack with hummus or spinach dip.
  • Include them with carrot sticks, celery, and slices of bell pepper on a veggie tray.
  • Add sliced cherry tomatoes to a stir fry.
  • Toss them with parmesan cheese and olive oil in a pesto-flavored pasta.
  • Combine cherry tomatoes with chopped red onion, jalapeño, and lime juice to create pico de gallo.
  • Fold them into an omelet with your favorite types of cheese.
  • Add them with lemon juice and Feta cheese to a couscous salad.
  • Use heirloom cherry tomatoes in a tasty fruit salad.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 02, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Harvard Health Blog: “Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes Linked to Lower Stroke Risk.”

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Thermal Processing Enhances the Nutritional Value of Tomatoes by Increasing Total Antioxidant Activity."

Journal of Food Composition and Analysis: "Seasonal Variations in Antioxidant Components of Cherry Tomatoes."

Journal of Translational Medicine: "Lycopene and Bone—An In Vitro Investigation and a Pilot Prospective Clinical Study."

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project: “Cherry Tomatoes.”

Smithsonian Magazine: "The Contentious History of the Cherry Tomato."

The Journal of Nutrition: “Tomato Phytochemicals and Prostate Cancer Risk.”

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