Is Tomato Good for Diabetes?
Nutrition

Is Tomato Good for people with Diabetes?

Tomato, a staple ingredient in our meals, is a fruit of a night-shade plant Solanum Lycopersicum. Known and eaten for lycopene, an antioxidant that has been associated with a wide range of health benefits, tomatoes are available in different varieties and colours.

Nutrition Profile

Apart from lycopene, tomatoes are the tomato is a rich storehouse of nutrients that include:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fibre
  • Healthy fats
  • Vitamins A, C, K1, and folate
  • Minerals like potassium
  • Other plant compounds like beta carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid

Before we get to a commonly asked question, “Is tomato good for diabetes?”, we must know more about the tomato's glycemic index or GI. 

Benefits of Tomato

Owing to the nutrients packed in tomatoes, they are highly beneficial for our skin and heart and also reduces the risk of cancer risk. Here are some benefits of eating tomatoes:

1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant present in tomatoes that helps reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and blood pressure, which helps reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases. Nutrients like vitamin B, E and flavonoids (antioxidants) are also known to improve heart health.

2. Improves Skin Health

The antioxidant property of tomatoes is beneficial for your skin. Lycopene protects and helps your skin cells recover from sun damage. Studies have shown that tomatoes help increase collagen production in the skin, which keeps your skin firm and youthful.

3. Boost Immunity

Oxidative stresses are known to cause diseases like cancer. Antioxidants are biological compounds that prevent oxidative stress in the cells and increase your immune response. Studies show that consuming tomatoes help boosts immunity, preventing cancers of different organs.

4. Protect your Vision

Lycopene and beta carotene in tomatoes protect vision and prevent eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin in tomatoes protect your eyes from blue-light damage due to digital devices. Tomatoes are also known to reduce tiredness and eyestrain. 

5. Boost Digestive Health

Tomatoes are rich in dietary fibre and water, which are great for digestion. If you are prone to acidity or acid reflux, you may want to check your tomato consumption.

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Benefits of Tomato in Diabetes

While tomatoes are suitable for everyone, they are particularly beneficial for persons with diabetes for the following reasons:

  1. Prevents cardiovascular complications in persons with diabetes.
  2. Reduces bad cholesterol levels, keeping the heart healthy.
  3. Lower the risk of developing blood clots.
  4. Improved insulin resistance, i.e., better management of blood sugar levels
  5. The high fibre content in tomatoes keeps you feeling full longer, thereby reducing your caloric intake and, preventing a rise in your blood sugar levels.
  6. Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure.

How Tomato Affects Blood Sugar Management?

Before you look up if tomato soup is good for diabetics, you must know how tomatoes help in blood sugar management. Tomatoes have lots of factors going for them when it comes to blood sugar level management in persons with diabetes:

  • High fibre
  • Low GI
  • Non-starchy nature
  • Low in carbohydrates and calories
  • High in antioxidants like lycopene

Lycopene in tomatoes reduces insulin resistance, increases the hormone’s effects on cells, and improves blood sugar levels. The low GI of this fruit also brings about a slow increase in blood sugar levels, enabling the body to manage it well.

Different Ways to Consume Tomato

The tomato is a versatile fruit/vegetable that forms the base of several tasty recipes, even for people with diabetes. Here are some ways to consume tomatoes to help keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range:

  • Tomato juice: A freshly prepared tomato juice is one of the best ways to consume this fruit. Combine it with other refreshing juices like cucumber to enhance its taste and nutrition profile.
  • Tomato chutney: Puree tomatoes or chop them into fine pieces and cook them in Indian spices like jeera, mustard seeds, some curry leaves and garlic. Enjoy the tangy chutney with the goodness of tomatoes.
  • Gazpacho: A cold tomato soup that is bright red in colour and bold in flavour.
  • The good-old tomato sauce.
  • Tomato-based salads: Combine chopped tomatoes with other vegetables like onions, cucumber, corn, olives, etc., in varied combinations and serve alongside the main course.
  • Tomato salsa or Tomato soup is good for a diabetic patient and is an excellent addition to your weight loss regime.

FAQs

1. What is the GI Score of Tomato?

Tomato has a glycemic index of 15, which is far less than many commonly eaten vegetables. Due to its significantly low GI, tomatoes are an excellent vegetable for diabetes.

2. What are the disadvantages of eating Tomato in Diabetes?

Tomatoes are beneficial for people with diabetes. However, if you have acid reflux, avoid consuming tomatoes in excess. Also, tomatoes are rich in potassium, and consuming them in excess can increase your risk for impaired kidney function.  Tomatoes, just like many other fruits/veggies, are great for persons with diabetes. This versatile fruit/-vegetable can be included in all your meals of your diet and offers more health benefits than just blood sugar control.

Bottomline

The next time you hear people ask questions like “Can diabetics drink tomato juice?” or “Are tomatoes safe for diabetics?” you know what to say! they are! Tomatoes are, infact, a great choice of vegetable for people with diabetes owing to its nutrient value. Though there are plenty of ongoing studies about the benefits of tomatoes in people with diabetes, there is a significant amount of scientific proof that eating this bright red fruit can help anyone manage their blood sugar levels more effectively.

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