Are Tomatoes harmful?

Did you know that tomatoes actually come from the most poisonous family? Does that mean tomatoes…are poisonous? Oh my god! Do I have to change my diet again!?!?( that was weird)

  • History

Tomatoes were first introduced somewhere around the 16th century in the lands of Europe. Sadly,how exactly did they get there is not known. For many years tomatoes were believed to be poisonous due to that flaming red skin and also that the tomato leaves were considered poisonous. It was also believed that witches used these plants to make hallucinogenic pastes( hallucinogenic is basically something which makes you experience hallucinations.Have a great time pronouncing it!!).  But later,they were proved to be harmless,more like beneficial,at least to humans that is…

Photo by Markus Spiske 

  • The Nightshade family

Now,if you’re not confused by what exactly am I trying to say,Congrats! You have a lot more brain cells than I do. Anyways,tomatoes were feared to be poisonous because they come from the Nightshade family. Now what is so bad about the Nightshade family? It’s because the family ( the term ‘family’ means that the plant is classified into the particular group) consists of a plant which can potentially kill someone. A natural poison,the  Atropa belladonna. Belladonna is the most poisonous plant known in the world. You might have heard of this plant in some of the drama series. What makes this family toxic is due to the presence of a drug called atropine in them. Atropine is a drug,which is also used for medications,but it does have some side effects, including the potential to kill you. But… Nightshade also includes plants like brinjals (or eggplants like the cool ones call it), potatoes etc. But fortunately,these plants do not have atropine in them. At least not the quantity which would be needed to kill you. But..what if it develops over time and then kills me? No. Our digestive system is so strong that it can dissolve an iron nail! Because our stomach has the stomach acid which basically is Hydrochloric acid(HCl) and just so you know,some metals dissolve in the hydrochloric acid. So,no there should not be a possibility for that to happen.

The problem is,these plants produce something which is a toxin named solanine. They produce it to work as their defence system which is an alkaloid(alkaloid is basically a ‘nitrogenous organic compound’ which may or may not have some physical changes on humans. The solanine concentration is the most in the stems and the least or almost non-existent in the roots. Does that mean that the the fruit(tomato) has solanine in them?Yes. But according to a research,it would actually take about 1 pound of tomatoes to be gobbled up to actually have any changes in your human body. This is because,even the fruit has a lot less concentration of solanine in them making them almost harmless. Almost.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

  •  Does that make tomatoes poisonous?

Tomatoes are really healthy if included into your diet,due to their high concentrations in lycopene,which may be beneficial for your body,because it is an antioxidant which helps to reduce one’s hands of cancer and some cardiovascular diseases.

Tomatoes, coming from the Nightshade family were therefore always raised an eyebrow if used in foods. But the plant actually produces a different alkaloid which is tomatine. Tomatine is a lot less toxic than the other alkaloids,so we’re good. However,they may result in some gastrointestinal issues, liver damages etc. If taken in large doses.

But people usually advise that those who are affected by auto -immune diseases should avoid the intake of tomatoes. Again,it depends on the disease and so is strongly advised to be as per  the consultation of your doctor.  Tomato leaves? Yes may be poisonous,but not really. Confusing? Very much so.

Tomatine can be harmful to your pet dog though,but it may be al right unless you feed your pet tomatoes regularly. Pets are not to be given many things,including chocolates and anything which contains any natural drug,it may not be good for domestic animals. Again,it solely depends whether the consumption is regular or not. So are tomatoes harmful? Well,unless you eat 3 pounds of tomatoes everyday, you’re good!

The conclusion? Well,have you ever seen any recipes which include tomato leaves? Nah. Not really. But ya,it would not really kill you, according to a source that is. All natural drugs are harmful only when consumed in large quantities. If you start making assumptions that all drugs are harmful,then be ready to stop eating almost every dish and drink.Including coffee and tea because even they contain caffeine which is again a drug.

The concept of drugs are often misunderstood by people.  Not all drugs are harmful. In fact, drugs actually have two subdivisions to them. One being 1. Legal and 2. Illegal ( don’t you find the word a bit weird with 3 letters literally looking the same but are different…No? ) Anyways, legal drugs are literally present everywhere in our surroundings. Drugs are also used in medications,maybe in the form of  sedatives or actually the main product. One of the most harmful things can actually be useful to us. Which is what makes them even more fascinating. They become harmful when you start obsessing over it due to many reasons,and once started,illegal drugs are not easy to give up on. Yes, everybody has their own reasons,but often what we think to be rational decisions turn out to be irrational. Which is why decisions should always be made with a calm mind!

Fact- Many people are allergic to tomatoes and tomato sauce.(think that’s weird? It’s not) But..what are allergies? Well,that may be a topic for another day, I guess.

Categories: Science