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Heirloom Tomatoes: Nutrition

You say fruit, I say veggie. Botanically speaking, the tomato is a fruit, but the FDA and most home cooks consider it a vegetable. Either way, this family favorite is a good source of potassium and the antioxidants vitamins A and C. It’s also a source of lycopene – 2.1mg, to be precise. (1) What’s lycopene? It’s a compound produced by the plant that gives a tomato its red color and also has protective benefits. Some research indicates lycopene may protect against certain types of cancer. (2) When choosing tomatoes, look for ones that are soft but not mushy with smooth, brightly colored skin, then take a sniff. A ripe tomato will have a ripe tomato scent!


  1. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Version Current: September 2015, slightly revised May 2016. Internet
  2. Giovannuccci E. Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: review of the epidemiologic literature. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999;91:317-331
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