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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Jun;218(2):98-100.

Nutrient content of tomatoes and tomato products.

Author information

1
Food Composition Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, ARS, USDA, Maryland 20705, USA. Beecher@bhnrc.usda.gov

Abstract

During the last half-century, the fruit of the cultivated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), commonly considered a vegetable, has become a popular and highly consumed food in the United States. Production of tomatoes in the United States ranks second only to potatoes. As a consequence, tomatoes and tomato-based foods provide a convenient matrix by which nutrients and other health-related food components can be supplied to human beings. Tomatoes and tomato products are rich sources of folate, vitamin C, and potassium. Relative to phytonutrients, the most abundant in tomatoes are the carotenoids. Lycopene is the most prominent carotenoid followed by beta-carotene, gamma-carotene and phytoene as well as several minor carotenoids. The antioxidant activity of lycopene as well as several other carotenoids and their abundance in tomatoes makes these foods rich sources of antioxidant activity. The provitamin A activity of beta- and gamma-carotene, their modest levels in tomato products, and the high consumption of these foods results in a rich supply of vitamin A activity from tomato-based foods. Tomatoes also contain several other components that are beneficial to health, including vitamin E, trace elements, flavonoids, phytosterols, and several water-soluble vitamins.

PMID:
9605204
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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