Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds that offer a wide range of health benefits.
Research even suggests that these nutrients may protect against multiple diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Therefore, enjoying tomato soup may be a delicious way to make the most of the health benefits of tomatoes. You could savor a rich, warm bowl of soup during sweater weather or a refreshing gazpacho in summer.
Here are 9 science-based benefits of tomato soup.
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) have relatively few calories, but they are packed with nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
Here is the nutrient profile of one large (182-gram) raw tomato
- Calories: 33
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 1.6 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Vitamin C: 28% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 8% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
Tomatoes are also rich in carotenoids — namely lycopene — providing about 80% of the DV for lycopene).
Lycopene is the pigment that gives tomatoes their characteristic bright red color. It may also be responsible for many of their health benefits, given its potential preventive effect on various chronic diseases.
Interestingly, research suggests that the body absorbs lycopene better when it is cooked. Heat may increase its bioavailability or absorption rate.
Because tomato soup is made with cooked tomatoes, it is an excellent source of this compound.
Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize the harmful effects of oxidative stress. This happens when cell-damaging molecules called free radicals accumulate in the body.
Tomato soup is an excellent source of antioxidants, including lycopene, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E, among many others.
Consuming antioxidants has been linked with a lower risk of cancer and inflammation-related diseases, such as obesity and heart disease.
Additionally, research has shown that the antioxidant action of vitamin C and flavonoids may help protect against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and brain diseases.
Vitamin E helps boost vitamin C’s antioxidant effects.
Tomatoes are widely studied for their cancer-fighting properties due to their high lycopene content. They may be especially effective against prostate and breast cancer.
Prostate cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally, and the second most diagnosed cancer among men.
Multiple studies have found a direct association between high lycopene intake, specifically from cooked tomatoes, and a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Research suggests that lycopene may induce cancer cell death. It may also slow tumor growth in a process called anti-angiogenesis .
Consuming higher levels of carotenoids is linked with an up to 28% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. These carotenoids include alpha carotene, beta carotene, and lycopene.
While these results are promising, evidence suggests that lycopene is not potent enough for people to use it as an anticancer drug by itself.
Research shows that lycopene’s antioxidant capacity may also interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Enjoying a bowl of tomato soup may also benefit your eyes and skin.
When it comes to skin health, beta carotene and lycopene may protect you against sunburn by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) light to increase the skin’s defense against UV-induced damage.
For example, researchers in one study gave 149 healthy adults a supplement containing 15 mg of lycopene, 0.8 mg of beta carotene, and several additional antioxidants.
The study found that the supplement significantly protected participants’ skin against UV damage.
However, while the research suggests that this has some benefits for your skin, this doesn’t mean that you should alter your regular sun protection skin care routine.
Foods like tomatoes that are rich in carotenoids and vitamin A may benefit eye health too.
Eating tomatoes has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, or loss of vision that comes with age.
Once again, their protective effect appears to come from their antioxidant properties, which reduce oxidative stress in the macula, a key part of the eye.
In addition, the body converts beta carotene into retinol, an essential compound for vision.
Osteoporosis is a chronic disease characterized by increased bone fragility and fracture. It is considered one of the most important complications of postmen pause.
Studies show that lycopene plays an essential role in regulating bone metabolism by increasing bone mineral density, which reduces the risk of fracture.
Other aspects of bone metabolism include the balance between cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts are in charge of building bone, while osteoclasts are responsible for bone breakdown and resorption.
Animal studies show that lycopene also influences bone metabolism by stimulating osteoblast activity to build bones while reducing the breakdown activity of osteoclasts.
High intakes of tomato products may reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol — two major risk factors for heart disease. These effects may be thanks to tomatoes’ lycopene and vitamin C content.
Both lycopene and vitamin C prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is a risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Lycopene also lowers cholesterol absorption in the intestines and improves the functioning of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body .
Additionally, the carotenoids in tomatoes may help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.
Oxidative stress is a major cause of male infertility. It can lead to sperm damage that causes decreased sperm viability and motility.
Research suggests that taking lycopene supplements may be a potential fertility treatment. This is because lycopene’s antioxidant properties may increase the chances of producing a higher count of healthy sperm.
One study in 44 men with infertility concluded that consuming commercial tomato products, such as tomato juice or soup, significantly increased blood lycopene levels, resulting in improved sperm motility.
Additionally, one animal study found that lycopene may reduce damage due to radiation therapy. This damage is often characterized by a lowered sperm count.
Some cultures use tomato soup as a home remedy for the common cold. In fact, its vitamin C and carotenoid content may stimulate your immune system.
Research also shows that vitamin C may help prevent the common cold and reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
With both warm and cold tomato soup recipes available online, you’ll be able to enjoy this simple, delicious dish year-round.
Here’s an easy recipe for a warm and cozy version:
Tomato basil soup
- 3 cups (735 grams) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) chopped onions
- 1 cup (250 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cloves (12 grams) finely chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp. (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. (2.5 grams) dried oregano
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup (24 grams) roughly chopped basil leaves
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft and tender. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the basil leaves. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the basil leaves, setting aside a few for garnish. Cover the soup and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove the soup from heat and purée using a handheld blender or carefully transfer to a conventional blender. Serve hot and garnish with extra basil leaves.
Some people claim tomato soup has other health benefits. However, these are not backed by science.
- Promoting hair growth: At about 1.6 grams, a large (182-gram) raw tomato does not have much protein. Thus, tomato soup is unlikely to provide enough protein to promote hair growth).
- Eliminating fat: To lose fat, you have to create a calorie deficit. While tomato soup may help you lower your calorie intake, it does not eliminate fat by itself.
- Supporting weight loss: Soup consumption is associated with lower body weight. That is because eating any kind of soup, including tomato soup, helps increase diet quality by lowering fat intake.
Despite tomato soup’s numerous health benefits, it may come with a couple of downsides.
Trigger food for GERD
While tomatoes are generally safe to eat, they may be a trigger food for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
In fact, one study in 100 people with GERD found that tomatoes were a triggering food in about half of participants.
GERD is one of the most common illnesses in the United States. Its symptoms usually include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain.
Treating it usually includes identifying and eliminating triggering foods, meaning that tomato soup may not be the right choice if you have GERD.
High in salt
Additionally, canned soups — including tomato soup — are usually high in salt, which may lead to high blood pressure in both children and adults.
For instance, one can of tomato soup packs 48% of the DV for salt. This high amount could easily lead you to exceed your daily salt needs.
Lastly, whether it is store-bought or homemade, a tomato soup that contains cream may lead to unwanted weight gain. That is because cream may increase your soup’s fat and calorie content.
Try to make your own tomato soup using high-quality ingredients to manage the salt, fat, and calorie count.
Tomato soup may offer numerous health benefits, including cancer-fighting properties and improved fertility in men. It may also benefit heart, skin, and bone health, among others.
These benefits are mainly due to the many plant compounds in tomatoes.
However, there’s no evidence to back up the claims that tomato soup promotes hair growth and eliminates fat.
Tomato soup may not be a good choice if you have GERD.
You can try making a homemade version of your favorite tomato soup to manage the salt and fat content while making the most of all the beneficial nutrients in this tasty dish.