Tomatoes and Type 2 Diabetes
There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes with slight differences in color, texture and flavor; however, there is very little difference in the plethora of nutritional benefits they offer.
Tomato Nutrition Facts
- Tomatoes provide an excellent source of vitamin C (33% of recommended daily value) and are a good source of beta carotene (8%)
- Tomatoes are very low on the glycemic index at 15
- Tomatoes are a low carb vegetable at less than 5 grams per serving
- Tomatoes are low in calories at only 32 per 1 cup serving
- Tomatoes supply many other vitamins (especially vitamin E) and minerals (especially manganese) as well as antioxidants (such as lycopene)
Tomato Benefits for Diabetes
- Vitamin C – strengthens the immune system and improves bone health, blood vessels and skin tissue
- Lycopene – a carotenoid for eye and bone health and cancer prevention
- Lutein – a carotenoid known for its promotion of eye health, brain health, and memory
- Beta-carotene – supports healthy vision and immunity
- Flavonoids – (such as esculoside A; chalconaringenin; 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid) have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
- Vitamin E – has cardioprotective antioxidant effects and helps with skin, hair, and hormonal regulation
Research on Tomato Specific to T2 Diabetes
While it hasn’t been shown to directly lower a1c, intake of tomatoes has been shown to improve associated outcomes through reducing associated complications of type 2 diabetes.
Several studies have shown heart health benefits through decreasing LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol, and triglycerides as well as preventing platelet aggregation, which leads to clumping in the blood, increasing risk of heart attack.
A study measuring the addition of 200 grams tomato daily in diabetics showed reduction in blood pressure and improvement in lipid (cholesterol) profile with a reduction in cardiovascular risk. Adding olive oil has been shown to enhance those benefits.
Tomatoes have also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect, even reducing pain in those with diabetes and obesity. Finally there is evidence that tomato consumption has a positive (lowering) effect on both weight and blood glucose.
Tomatoes and Diabetes Conclusion
On the whole, tomatoes are a great low carb vegetable that can add a lot of flavor and texture to dishes.
They are a very nutrient dense food providing many micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – for a minimal amount of calories. They can be added to a variety of savory dishes or simply eaten fresh as a simple snack.
Tomato Juice for Diabetes
1 cup tomato juice, canned without salt is 8.5 g total carbs, 1 g fiber, 7.5 g net carbs. Compared to something like apple juice, at approximately 28 g per cup, tomato juice is obviously a better option.
Interestingly, there have been a few studies done on tomato juice in relation to diabetes and obesity, though at this stage the results are slightly conflicting.
For example, one study has shown that it reduces oxidative stress, while another study did not reach the same conclusion.
In one study, drinking 10 oz (300ml) day tomato juice for 20 days reduced a major inflammatory marker called IL-6 in obese participants. Since inflammation and heart disease go hand in hand, the researchers propose that reducing inflammation could reduce risk of heart conditions in diabetes.
Still, one study is not really enough to draw any real conclusions. So your best bet is to test your levels and see how tomato juice affects you.