Are cherry tomatoes bad for us?

In this post I’ll be talking about cherry tomatoes and if they are bad for you. 

And if they are bad for you, why are they bad?!

Is the problem in the cherry part? 

Or is it the tomato part? 

And what about normal tomatoes?! 

Are cherry tomatoes different to normal tomatoes?

Well, I’ll address all the above in this post! 

But I won’t keep you hanging here.

Let me answer the question…

 

 

Are cherry tomatoes bad for you?

Let’s answer the question…  

 

So…

 

Are cherry tomatoes bad for you?

 

 

No!!

 

 

Cherry tomatoes are not bad for you. 

 

For most of us cherry tomatoes are perfectly fine to eat.

 

But…

 

Some people avoid tomatoes due to tomatoes flaring up inflammation. 

 

Inflammation can cause a number of symptoms including pain, swelling and redness.  

Symptoms like the above could happen to people who have allergies, sensitivities and intolerances to tomatoes (including cherry tomatoes). 

These people will need to avoid tomatoes.  

But if you have no known sensitivity to tomatoes they’ll be perfectly fine to eat.

 

Unfortunately, cherry tomatoes do fall into a few categories that give them a bad name and that’s what I’ll address in this post.  

After you’ve read the post you’ll understand why people will question the benefits of cherry tomatoes.  

 

 

Are cherry tomatoes the same as normal tomatoes?

Now when it comes to comparing a cherry tomato to a normal tomato there is no difference.

 A tomato is a tomato, is a tomato!

The main differences are the size, the taste, how we eat them and the amount of nutrients in them due to size.  

But at the end of the day, they’re still tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are smaller than regular tomatoes.  

And they taste different, you may find cherry tomatoes tasting sourer than regular tomatoes.  

And due to the size of a cherry tomato, we’re likely to eat them differently. Regular tomatoes, are usually chopped up and added to salads.  

Whereas cherry tomatoes are great for snacking as they’re easier to eat when we’re out and about because there’s no chopping involved.  

So whether a tomato is small, round, oval, sour or sweet, or cherry shaped, they’re still tomatoes. 

Throughout this post, I’ll be mentioning cherry tomatoes. But this post isn’t just referring to cherry tomatoes, I’m talking about all tomatoes!

So next I’m going to talk to you about what tomatoes contain, the good, bad and the ugly!

[1]1

 

 

What’s in a tomato?

 

The Good!

Lycopene

So tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. 

Lycopene is an antioxidant and can be a great nutrient for the immune system and the health of our hearts. 

It’s also beneficial for reducing inflammation in the body. 

It’s best to get lycopene from cooked or processed tomatoes. 

So tomato ketchup is a good source of lycopene, but use it sparingly because it’s high in sugar!

[2]2

[3]3

 

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for our immune system acting as an antioxidant.  

On a daily basis, your body is taking in substances that can cause damage to your cells.  

Antioxidants have the ability to fight these harmful substances, getting to them before they cause tissue damage.  

We also need vitamin C for the growth, development and repair of our tissues. [4]4  

Vitamin C can’t be made by the body, we can only get it from our diets!.  

And vitamin C isn’t stored like other vitamins, this is due to it being a water-based vitamin. Due to it being water-based it’s removed easily in our urine and stools.  So we have to keep topping up this vitamin daily!

So eating tomatoes which are rich in vitamin C is a great way of getting this vital vitamin into our bodies.

 

 

Vitamin A

Tomatoes are a great source of carotenoids. 

Carotenoids are found in fruits that are of red or orange colour, so as well as tomatoes, carrots are also rich in carotenoids. 

And remember we spoke about lycopene?  Well, that’s a carotenoid too!  

And a great type of carotenoid is beta carotene, a natural form of vitamin A which is also known as provitamin A.  

Now we can’t get vitamin A directly from tomatoes or any plants.  It’s firstly available as beta carotene and our bodies convert it into vitamin A. 

Unlike vitamin C, vitamin A is more stable and it’s able to store well in the body as it’s a fat-based vitamin.  

So beta carotene can be stored in the liver and the body will convert it into vitamin A when it’s required. [5]5  

Like vitamin C, vitamin A works as an antioxidant and it’s also great for cell division so it’s extremely important for reproduction.  And it’s also great for growth and the immune system. [6]6

And I bet your mother and/or grandmother always tried to bribe you into eating your carrots because they’re good for your eyes.  

Did they?

Well, they were right!

And that’s down to beta carotene. 

We should always listen to our elders, shouldn’t we?!

 

 

More good stuff

As well as the above…

Tomatoes are also rich in an antioxidant, skin and hair-boosting vitamin called vitamin E. 

And we can also get potassium from tomatoes. Potassium is beneficial for water balance in the body, our nerves and our muscles.

 

 

Tomatoes are packed full of goodness!

 

 

So if they’re so good, why on earth would people say they’re bad for us.  

 

 

Well, next I’ll explain a couple of reasons why it’s said tomatoes are bad.  

But I’m sure up to this point you can see the benefits of having tomatoes in your diet.

 

 

 

 

The Bad

Right, so the first of the bad is…

 

Solanine

So solanine is a poison.  

Oooo, sound bad? 

Well, it can be bad!

It can cause some pretty nasty symptoms, especially digestion and nerve based symptoms.  

 

So can you see solanine?

 

Yes, you can!

We all know that if we see green bits in a potato we have to cut them away?

Yes?

Well, those green bits are solanine, and we cut them away because they’re poisonous.

And that’s the stuff you should be avoiding. 

And as well as potatoes, you can find it in tomatoes and all foods classed as nightshade foods (also called Solanaceae).  I’ll talk about nightshades later in this post. 

 

So due to this, tomatoes get a bad wrap due to this poison.  

But let me put you at ease here.  

In order to cause damage from eating this poison, you’d have to eat a lot of it. 

Plus you’re more likely to find it in potatoes than from tomatoes. And in tomatoes, it’s found more in tomato leaves and stems, not so much in the tomato flesh![7]7 [8]8

Does that make you feel better?!

So the second baddie is…

 

 

Uric Acid

Uric acid is a gout sufferers’ arch-enemy!

Gout is a form of arthritis that tends to affect the fingers, toes, wrists, elbows and knees.

Uric acid is produced after eating foods high in purines. 

Foods that contain high levels of purines are seafood, alcohol, high sugar foods and red meats.

After your body breaks downs the purines, uric acid is then produced and is circulated in your bloodstream.  

Uric acid becomes a problem when your body doesn’t either remove it in your urine and stools or your body doesn’t reabsorb it well.  [9]9

If this is the case, high stores of uric acid circulate in your bloodstream and get stored in your joints. The result, gout attacks!!

 

So where do tomatoes come into this picture? 

 

Well, sufferers have reported that eating tomatoes have caused their gout attacks.  In fact, a study involving gout sufferers found that tomatoes were the 4th highest culprit for a gout flare-up.

And get this, tomatoes are classed as a low purine food but can produce high levels of uric acid.  This is possibly due to tomatoes being high in glutamate, an amino acid.  The problem is that some people struggle with processing glutamate and that can cause high levels of glutamate and also uric acid.  [10]10[11]11

So even though a plant-based diet is recommended for gout sufferers. Tomatoes may be a big no-no for many sufferers. 

And this is another reason why tomatoes and cherry tomatoes get a bad name!

 

 

So I think those are pretty bad baddies, let’s not give tomatoes more of a bad name. 

 

 I’m going to soften the blow by terming the next section as ‘ugly’.

I’ve termed this next section as ‘ugly’ as what I’ll talk about next is often seen as being bad but really it’s a little ugly.  

What I’m about to talk about in the next section isn’t that bad for most people. 

But can be bad or a little ugly for some people.  

 

 

And due to it being bad for some,  it’s tarred as being bad for all of us.  

 

 

As I continue you’ll see what I mean and hopefully, you’ll understand why I’ve put this in the ‘ugly’ category and not the ‘bad’ category.  

So let’s have the ugly chat about…

 

 

Nightshades!!

 

 

The Ugly

Nightshades

Tomatoes are part of the nightshades family.  

It sounds like a superhero family, doesn’t it?  

And the nightshade family could be seen as having some superpowers! And Ill explain why very soon!

Anyway, to get back on track, this family of plants are termed as being nightshade due to them ‘apparently’ preferring to grow at night and liking the shade. And I say ‘apparently’  as this isn’t very clear!!

And earlier I spoke about superpowers.  That’s because nightshade foods contain alkaloids compounds. 

 

Alkaloid compounds

Alkaloid compounds have the ability to cause changes in our bodies and play a role in medicines, for example, morphine is classed as an alkaloid.  

[12]12

 

Others in the nightshade family.

As well as tomatoes, other vegetables and plants are part of the nightshade family, they are:

      • Potatoes
      • Peppers
      • Tobacco
      • Eggplant (Aubergine)

 

The not so good alkaloids

Now, although alkaloids can cause positive changes to our bodies, there are some that are harmful.  An example of this is tobacco, the alkaloids in tobacco can play a huge role in the development of some cancers.  

And for some people, nightshade foods can cause inflammation. 

 

Nightshade and inflammation

Earlier we spoke about gout sufferers experiencing issues with tomatoes.  

And as well as gout sufferers there are sufferers of inflammatory diseases who feel that nightshade foods cause flare-ups of inflammation and pain.  

Like gout, sufferers of autoimmune diseases and other types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus will avoid nightshade foods to avoid inflammatory flare-ups.  

 

 

Now tomatoes and nightshade foods are classed as being foods that can help inflammation and is often recommended as anti-inflammatory.

 

So this is very much an individual thing. 

 

Some people may find nightshade foods helpful!

 

 

And this may not be the case for some people who are sensitive to nightshade foods.

So can you see why I’ve termed nightshade foods as being ugly?

Nightshade foods have lots of benefits and for some people, they could help inflammation.  

 

 

Tomatoes and other nightshade foods aren’t bad for everyone!  

 

 

But, like everything in life.  What will suit one person may not suit another.  

 

 

Some people will find that totally removing tomatoes and other nightshade plants is the only solution to reducing daily pain.  

 

 

So before terming tomatoes and all other nightshade foods as being evil.  

[13]13  [14]14

 

 

Test them first!  

If you suspect that tomatoes are an issue, the best thing would be to remove them.  

But hopefully, you won’t be removing them forever.  Instead, you’ll remove tomatoes for a period of time (14-28 days) and test if you experience a change in your symptoms. 

This way you can be certain if tomatoes or other nightshades foods are culprits!

 

 

Conclusion

 

So there it is.  

Cherry tomatoes aren’t bad for us.  

And they contain antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E. Which are beneficial for a healthy immune system.  How can that be bad?

 

Now that isn’t to say that this is the case for everyone!

 

Cherry tomatoes can be troublesome for people who are sensitive to certain substances and can cause issues with inflammation and uric acid. 

But this isn’t a reason for all of us to avoid eating and enjoying them!

 

 

 

References

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/cherry-tomatoes-vs-regular-tomatoes-whats-the-difference-2073998

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-cherry-tomatoes#:~:text=Eating%20too%20many%20cherry%20tomatoes,malic%20acid%20in%20cherry%20tomatoes.

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-properties-tomatoes#:~:text=Tomatoes%20contain%20all%20four%20major,interact%20to%20provide%20health%20benefits).

https://www.fondation-louisbonduelle.org/en/nutrient/beta-carotene-or-provitamin-a/

https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/gout/what-are-purines

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM196910022811405#:~:text=Because%20glutamate%20is%20the%20major%20precursor%20of%20glutamine%2C6%20it,and%20consequent%20overproduction%20of%20purines.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541734/

https://chhs.source.colostate.edu/6-facts-didnt-know-nightshades/#:~:text=Nightshade%20plants%20contain%20different%20types,in%20the%20night%20and%20shade

https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-nightshade-vegetables#:~:text=Nightshade%20is%20a%20family%20of,contain%20small%20amounts%20of%20alkaloids.&text=Morphine%20and%20quinine%20are%20two,based%20medicines%20that%20contain%20alkaloids.

 

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About the author

Hello, I’m Cheryl.  I’m a Yoga Teacher and Nutritional Therapist. I provide information to help people who suffer from digestive, hormonal, thyroid and joint-related conditions. And I write on this blog to provide information about nutrition, yoga and movement.


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