My mom says eating raw tomatoes can help control blood sugar levels

Tomatoes are healthy but did you know they can also help manage blood sugar levels? Here are the benefits of eating tomatoes for diabetes.
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Eating tomatoes can help you manage diabetes. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Shruti Bhattacharya Published: 28 Jan 2024, 13:30 pm IST
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It is impossible to think of an Indian dish without tomatoes. It is one of those fruits that is high in key minerals and vitamins that can help you stay fit. While you may already know that tomatoes offer a lot of health benefits, did you know that they can help you control your blood sugar levels? Well, my mom holds the opinion that eating raw tomatoes can aid blood sugar levels. Believe me, eating raw tomatoes has worked for me! I’ve been able to control my blood sugar thanks to it. However, I needed to consult with a doctor to ensure that it was safe for everyone. This is what an expert says about the benefits of eating tomatoes for diabetes.

What are the benefits of tomatoes for diabetes?

1. Low glycemic index

Raw tomatoes can contribute to blood sugar control due to their low glycemic index and high fibre content. The fibre helps slow down the absorption of sugars and improves insulin sensitivity. Additionally, tomatoes contain compounds like lycopene, which may have beneficial effects on insulin resistance. Tomato or its bioactive compounds may have an anti-hyperglycemic effect.

Recipes without tomato
Eating tomatoes can help manage diabetes. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Reduces oxidative stress

Tomato (fresh or cooked) is favourable for diabetic conditions because it decreases diabetes-induced oxidative stress, inflammation, accelerated atherosclerosis, and tissue (i.e., retinal, renal, and musculoskeletal) damage.

3. Low levels of carbs and energy

Tomatoes have low amounts of carbohydrates and energy (3.9 per 100 g) and are rich in potential antioxidants, such as lycopene, ascorbic acid, β-carotene, flavonoids (i.e., kaempferol), tocopherol, folic acid, and other small bioactive molecules. This inimitable composition is suggested to be favourable for diabetic conditions.

4. Contains antioxidants

Lycopene in tomatoes may have an anti-diabetic impact because of its antioxidant action, which reduces the amount of free radicals produced. A study published in the journal Nutrients that lycopene lowers blood glucose and raises serum insulin levels to provide hypoglycemic effects.

Kaempferol has anti-diabetic characteristics via reducing α-glucosidase activity, increasing antioxidant activity, lowering lipid peroxidation, protecting β cell function, and improving insulin sensitivity in the peripheral, says the expert.

5. Has epicatechin

Another significant tomato component, epicatechin, lowers oxidative stress, raises insulin sensitivity, and decreases insulin resistance. It also enhances muscular function, islet mass, and pancreatic insulitis.

6. Contains resveratrol

Resveratrol is another important component present in tomatoes that enhances mitochondrial biogenesis and reduces mitochondrial damage, oxidative damage, inflammation, lipid accumulation, and liver steatosis and improves the action of insulin, explains the expert.

Also Read: Create a healthy eating plan to manage diabetes with these tips

When should you consume tomatoes to control blood sugar level?

There is no specific time to consume raw tomatoes to control the blood sugar level. One can consume the same at any time during the day, advises Dr Khatuja.

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Is it safe to consume raw tomatoes every day for diabetic patients?

Yes, it is safe to consume raw tomatoes every day for diabetic patients. Raw tomatoes need to be taken in limited amounts or avoided in certain medical conditions like kidney stones as tomatoes are good sources of oxalate. You can develop other kidney problems due to their content of potassium.

A man checking blood sugar.
Tomatoes are safe for diabetes. Image courtesy: Freepik

Who should avoid consuming raw tomatoes?

People with conditions like acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or sensitivity to acidic foods may need to limit raw tomato consumption. Additionally, individuals with a history of kidney stones may be advised to moderate their intake due to the presence of oxalates in tomatoes, and kidney failure conditions as tomatoes are high in potassium content, recommends the expert.

Also Read: 5 benefits of good-old tomatoes that we bet you didn’t know about

What are the side effects of consuming tomatoes for diabetes?

While tomatoes are generally safe, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or digestive issues. Excessive consumption may lead to acid reflux or heartburn in some people. It’s essential to be mindful of personal tolerance levels and consult a healthcare professional if experiencing any adverse effects.

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About the Author

Shruti Bhattacharya is a content writer and editor for over 2 years. She specialises in writing on a variety of topics such as wellness, lifestyle, beauty, technology and fashion. Her current focus is on creating factually correct and informative stories for readers. ...Read More

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