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Well, anything in excess can be harmful. Same is the case with tomatoes. But, did you ever think that this humble red fruit, which we often use as a vegetable, can also cause harm when used in excess? Unfortunately, yes, though it is hard to believe. Read on to find out more.
Tomatoes are an integral part of our daily diet. We never keep count of the number of tomatoes we use in our day-to-day cooking, soups and salads. Sometimes, we even juice it up. But, just as it is important to know the benefits of the food that we consume, it is also necessary to know its ill effects.
Although tomatoes have a long list of positive health benefits, in this article, we shall focus on the less-known facts about the potential harm that tomatoes can cause when consumed in excess.
So, briefed here are 12 major negatives of tomato overdose:
1. Can Cause An Upset Stomach
Although tomatoes can help in keeping our digestive system healthy when taken in moderation, an overdose of tomatoes can do just the reverse. Especially for those of you suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, tomatoes can worsen your symptoms and lead to bloating. When consumed in excess, tomatoes can lead to diarrhea, due to the presence of an organism called 'Salmonella'.
2. Acid Reflux
Tomatoes are highly acidic. Therefore, if you are already suffering from an acid reflux or heartburn, it is better to watch out before indulging in tomatoes. They produce more acid that can cause acute gastrointestinal tract upset. Tomatoes contain malic and citric acids that trigger excess acid production, leading to gastric reflux. Therefore, in those suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), the symptoms can worsen.
3. Kidney Stones/Kidney Ailments
People suffering from advanced kidney disease are generally advised to limit their potassium intake. Tomatoes, being rich in potassium, can cause trouble to such patients. Another point to note here is that tomatoes are high in oxalate, which could lead to the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, if you are already suffering from problems associated with kidney stones, it is better to steer clear of tomatoes, or discuss with your doctor about the quantity of intake.
4. May Increase Blood Pressure
When consumed in its raw form, tomatoes are not high in sodium (only 5 mg), and do not interfere with blood pressure levels. In fact, it reduces the risk of high blood pressure. On the contrary, if you opt for other versions of tomatoes like canned tomatoes or tomato soup, it can contain a high amount of sodium, which is not advisable for anyone, particularly, for those suffering from high blood pressure.
In some people who are allergic to a compound called histamine, tomatoes can cause allergic reaction. The allergy symptoms may include eczema, skin rashes, hives, sneezing, itching sensation in the throat, swelling of the face and tongue. Tomatoes are also believed to cause allergic dermatitis in some people. An allergic reaction to tomatoes can also lead to breathing troubles.
6. Worsens Symptoms In Cancer Patients
The presence of lycopene in tomatoes does a lot of good for our health when taken in moderation. However, studies reveal that lycopene can aggravate symptoms of prostate cancer. Lycopene was also found to interact with certain chemotherapy medications. Therefore, patients undergoing treatment for cancer must exercise caution about consuming tomatoes.
7. Can Cause Urinary Troubles
As tomatoes are acidic, they can irritate the bladder, and sometimes lead to incontinence. If you are prone to frequent urinary tract infections, excess consumption of tomatoes can worsen your symptoms such as bladder irritation and burning sensation.
8. Muscle Cramps
The presence of the compound histamine in tomatoes can lead to joint pain and inflammation in the body, when the body's immune system reacts with the proteins present in the tomatoes. The presence of an alkaloid 'solanine' can also lead to inflammation. Excess tomato consumption can also trigger arthritis in some people, leading to muscle pain.
Tomatoes can trigger migraines according to experts. This has been confirmed in an Iranian study. Meanwhile, experts recommend that migraine can be controlled by 40 percent with some dietary changes. So, if you are suffering from migraine headaches, check on your tomato consumption too.
10. High Lycopene Aggravates Certain Health Issues
Tomatoes contain the compound called lycopene, which should be used cautiously by individuals with stomach ulcers, as it worsens symptoms. Similarly, it would do good for individuals on blood pressure-lowering medications to stay away from lycopene. Lycopene, when consumed beyond normal limits, increases the risk of bleeding and should be avoided by people with bleeding disorders.
11. May Cause Low Sugar (Hypoglycaemia)
Tomatoes are actually beneficial for people suffering from diabetes, due to its low glycaemic index. It releases sugar at a slow rate into the bloodstream, thereby preventing blood sugar levels from shooting. But, when consumed beyond normal limits, our blood sugar levels can dip to dangerously low levels, leading to hypoglycaemia. This can cause blurry vision, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, etc. If you are on diabetes medication, it is better to discuss with your doctor about including tomatoes in your diet.
12. Tomato Overdose May Cause Risk During Pregnancy
As mentioned earlier, tomatoes are an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants and can be safely consumed during pregnancy. However, it can pose risks during pregnancy and lactation, when consumed in excess. The best way to go ahead would be to discuss about it with your doctor.
Note: The negative effects of tomatoes mentioned in this article are applicable only when they are consumed in excess. Discuss with your doctor about their intake in case you suffer from certain health conditions.