Is the vitamin C content of a tomato enough to meet our daily needs?
Nutritional value of tomatoes
According to the USDA, tomatoes are 95% water. Additionally, tomatoes are low in calories.
A tomato contains approximately 16-33 calories, depending on the size.
Moreover, tomatoes contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and copper.
Certainly, tomatoes are good for your eyesight, as they contain great amount of beta-carotene (up to 817 mcg per tomato). Beta-carotene is an important carotenoid for the health of the eyes. Only a few foods are rich in beta-carotene, though.
Above all, tomatoes are a good source of lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, linked to decreased rick of breast and prostate cancer.
How much vitamin C do we need daily?
According to the National Institutes of Health, we need only 90 mg of vitamin C per day.
As vitamin C is only present in plants, we should consume many vegetables and fruits to meet the daily needs.
Besides citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, many other foods are rich in vitamin C. For instance, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and peppers are all high in vitamin C. See the whole list here.
Many fruits and vegetables are so rich in vitamin C, that we certainly don’t need vitamin C supplements. We can get all the vitamin C we need from plants. Much more actually…
How much vitamin C in a tomato?
Tomato is a good source of vitamin C. Just 100 gr of raw tomato contains 13.7 mg of vitamin C. That’s 15% DV (Daily Value).
Moreover, the vitamin C content of a:
- small tomato (2-2/5″) is 12.5 mg, or 14% DV.
- medium tomato (2-3/5″) is 17 mg, or 19% DV.
- large tomato (3″) is 25 mg, or 28% DV.
- cup of chopped tomatoes has 24.7 mg, or 27% DV.
As, you can see, fresh tomato is a good source of vitamin C. It can help us meet the daily needs of vitamin C.
Vitamin C in tomato juice
Tomato juice is a concentrated tomato product. So, just 100gr of tomato juice has 70 mg of vitamin C. That’s 77% DV.
Furthermore, tomato juice is low in calories. It has only 17 calories per 100 gr.
Above all, tomato juice is one of the richest foods in lycopene. Tomato juice has 9037 mcg of lycopene per 100 gr. Certainly, tomato juice is good for your eyes…
Vitamin C content of ketchup
Ketchup is highly processed food. As vitamin C is vulnerable to heat, ketchup practically doesn’t contain any vitamin C.
100 gr of ketchup has only 4 mg of vitamin C.
On the contrary, ketchup is pretty high in lycopene. It has 12062 mcg of lycopene per 100 gr. Due to, the fact that lycopene is resistant to heat and other processing methods.
Ketchup is the main lycopene source for many people.
Why Greek salad is so healthy?
One of the healthiest salads you can eat, is the traditional Greek salad. That’s part of the healthful Mediterranean diet.
For a traditional Greek salad you need fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, olives, olive oil, and oregano:
- tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- peppers are rich in vitamin C. Peppers have more vitamin C than we need per day.
- cucumber is good for hydration, during summer. Moreover, cucumber is an alkalizing vegetable, rich in electrolytes.
- onions not only are nutrient-rich, but also they have some compounds that increase the absorption of minerals, from other foods.
- olive oil is the highest vegetable oil in polyphenols. Prefer olive oil and flaxseed oil. Better avoid canola or sunflower oil.
- oregano is also high in antioxidants. Oregano is a precious herb. Studies have shown that oregano may decrease the risk of certain cancers, such as breast cancer.
As a rule of thumb, use only fresh vegetables. Pickled vegetables may be dangerous for your health.