Despite common misconception, the tomato is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. They’re produced in larger quantities than any other fruit, with more than 170 million tons grown internationally each year. Most tomato crops come from China, India, Turkey, and the United States.
It’s no wonder that tomatoes are the most consumed fruit in the world, especially since they’re a dietary staple for millions of people. A key ingredient in countless cuisines, this versatile fruit is used in sauces, soups, salads, condiments, garnishes, and even drinks. It’s also utilized as a fast food ingredient, serving as the basis for ketchup, salsa, and pico de gallo. (Just remember that fast food is no substitute for fresh fruits and veggies!)
Low in calories and loaded with vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate, tomatoes also carry an antioxidant compound called lycopene. Promising research shows that lycopene could decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer.
What’s more, tomatoes contain other antioxidants, such as beta carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid, and serve as a good source of fiber. Fiber prevents constipation, lowers cholesterol, manages blood sugar levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight.