Tomatoes are a fruit of a plant (Solanum lycopersicum) that belongs to the nightshade family of plant. Tomatoes are unusual amongst fruit because they are low in sugar. The low sugar content of tomatoes gives them a number of health advantages over other fruits. For example, tomato juice is low in sugar and low in total energy. However, at the same time it contains high levels of antioxidants such as the carotenoid lycopene and vitamin C. Tomato juice is therefore not associated with the detrimental health effects of other fruit juices. The lycopene in tomatoes is not found in many other fruits or vegetables and tomatoes are the main source in the diet. This makes tomatoes an excellent high quality food choice. Lycopene is associated with a number of beneficial effects and may be protective of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Some individuals may find digesting tomatoes difficult, and they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. However, for those without this problem, tomatoes are an excellent high quality food.
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