Are Tomatoes Paleo

Are Tomatoes Paleo?

In scientific terms, they classify the tomato as a fruit, not a vegetable. But as they appear low on the glycemic index, we often refer to them as a vegetable. But that still doesn’t answer the question “Are tomatoes Paleo?”

Well, in this article I aim to provide you with some reasoning why include them in your diet. Even though they are part of the nightshade family of which potatoes are also a member.

Tomatoes Paleo
Are Tomatoes Paleo

First, you need to realize that tomatoes are good for us.  They provide you with an excellent source of Vitamin C, A, and lycopene.  Also, contain an excellent source of different B Vitamins. 

Thank goodness, the humble tomato is Paleo.  But be aware these are part of the nightshade family. If you are someone who has been diagnosed with any form of autoimmune diseases you will need to avoid this food at all costs.

The reason why anyone who is following the Paleo auto-immune protocol should avoid eating the humble tomato is due to the amount of saponin, lectin, and capsaicin they contain.

Health Benefits Of Tomatoes

Contains Lycopene

Lycopene is especially important, as it is a strong anti-oxidant. This we need to help maintain our immune system. As well as helping to reduce inflammation in the body it also helps to prevent fat oxidation in the blood.

This is vital as it stops cholesterol in your body oxidizing. It is this form of cholesterol that will latch on to artery walls. In turn, causing plaque to form, which leads to inflammation.

This particular antioxidant also helps to prevent free radicals from being able to disrupt the formation of new bone in the body. So by including tomatoes in your diet, you are reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Excellent Source Of Vitamin C

The average size tomato, you will find it contains around 40% of the recommended daily allowance that your body needs. Not only does it help with tissue growth but also helps to repair any damage to tissue in the body. Vitamin C is also important in helping you to maintain healthy gums. Plus, you’ll find it helps in the production of hormones that help to reduce stress levels.

Great Source Of Vitamin A

Including Vitamin A in your diet is crucial because it helps to strengthen the immune system. It is inclusion also helps to keep your skin and mucus linings in good shape. You may also find that it even helps with your vision in the evening.

A Good Source Of Vitamin K

This is a vitamin that often doesn’t really get talked about but is very important to our body as a whole. Not only does it help to strengthen bones and capillaries, but it also produces an agent to cause blood to clot.

Although they contain plenty of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, our body needs. As a member of the nightshade family, they can cause complications in some people. Some people find eating this particular food leads to digestive problems.   If you notice any problems after eating such food then remove from your diet.

Tomatoes Are Low In Carbohydrates

For quite some time now, carbohydrates in food have earned quite a terrible reputation. There are quite a few diets around these days that recommend you restrict your carb intake in order to help you lose weight. But the problem here is that you’re actually depriving your body of a primary source of fuel, plus several essential nutrients your body needs to remain healthy.

Lycopene is especially important as it is a strong anti-oxidant.  This we need to help maintain our immune system and helping to reduce inflammation in the body it also helps to prevent fat oxidation in the blood.  This is vital as it stops cholesterol in your body from oxidizing.  It is this form of cholesterol that will latch on to artery walls. Causing plaque to form, which leads to inflammation.

Your body needs carbs, which it converts into glucose or sugar. Like carbs, glucose is essential as it provides fuel to your body as well, especially the brain. The problem is that there are other fuel sources you are eating as part of your Paleo diet such as protein and fat. But your brain does not use these as easily as other parts of your body can.

But the great thing is that the tomato contains only a small amount of carbs in them. For example, in just 100 grams of tomatoes, there are only 3.9 grams of carbs, whereas in say 100 grams of bread you’ll find 49 grams of carbs.

The issue is that the more carbs in food then of course more glucose and sugar be produced. This can lead to you find it difficult to control your weight.

Nutrients To Be Found In Tomatoes
However, foods low in carbs also have a lower glycemic index. If you are someone who is following the Paleo diet and suffers from diabetes you know how important it is to eat foods that are considered to be on the lower part of the Glycemic Index.

This is why you may want to consider including the tomato in your diet more often.

Tomato Glycemic Index

You’ll soon discover that when it comes to tomatoes, they appear lower down on the Glycemic Index scale. In fact, because the Glycemic Index tomatoes have is less than 15 they are considered being a low GI food.

What this means is that when eaten not only does it take longer for you to digest them but also they get absorbed by your body a lot slower. This prevents your insulin and blood sugar levels from rising too fast. Unlike other foods with a high GI score, you’ll find that you won’t feel sluggish after you’ve included tomatoes into your diet.

But if you find you don’t suffer from any issues, then including them into a Paleo diet is acceptable. So I in answer to the question posed above “Are Tomatoes Paleo?” I would say yes.

Of course, I would also suggest that you eat in moderation as they contain a protein compound known as lectin. We can also find this in foods that aren’t Paleo approved, such as legumes and dairy products.

Why Can Lectin In Tomatoes Be A Problem For Some People

Just because tomatoes do contain lectins, which can prove harmful to your health, it doesn’t mean you need to obliterate from them your diet.

The first thing you need to know about lectins is that they are actually a form of protein that can be found in all plant foods, and in animals and bacteria.

All plants have high levels of lectins in them as they act as a natural insecticide. It is this that helps to prevent the plants from being eaten. But unfortunately, when we consume lectins, our bodies act differently towards them.

Unfortunately, unlike other proteins enjoyed as part of the Paleo diet, we find these difficult to digest. As a result, can then lead to some health problems. Yes, research has shown that some lectins can prove harmful to us. But it depends on the kind of lectin consumed. Also, how much is consumed and how the food containing the lectin has been prepared.

Let’s Take A Closer Look At Lectins In Tomatoes

As already discussed lectins are a type of protein, but unlike other forms of protein, these are susceptible to various types of bacteria, diseases, and viruses. They have the ability to force carbs (fiber, sugar, and starches) to clump together. Plus, they can even cause them to become attached to certain in your body after we have eaten them.

Whenever you eat say the skin or seeds of a tomato, the lectins contained within them can locate the sugars in your body. But if that isn’t bad enough, they also can find sugars that they are able to latch on to easily.

The one sugar that they particularly like is known as sialic acid. This is a form of sugar to be found in your brain, your nervous tissue, and your stomach.   It is this process that has earned them being called sticky proteins.

But why is it sticky proteins are such an issue? Well, the primary reason is that they can interfere with the way your body functions.

The main issue is that lectins can impede important cells within your body from being able to communicate with each other. When such issues arise your body reacts in order to try to remove them. It can lead to stomach problems such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

Plus, some people after eating lectins may find that because of the breakdown in communication between cells that find they suffer from symptoms such as forgetfulness or fatigue.

Furthermore, because of their sticky nature, lectins have the ability to grab onto and then fuse harmful viruses and bacteria together. They help them stick to the cells in your body, providing them with the food they need.  As a result, you may suffer from infections or sickness more often.

So you can see why some people may say that including tomatoes in your Paleo diet isn’t a good idea.

However, having said that if you would like to include tomatoes in your diet to add a little more flavor and color to your food, then you should look at ways to remove the lectins from them.

Hopefully, the above has helped to provide you with some answers to the question Are Tomatoes Paleo?

How To Remove Lectins From A Tomato

Paleo Tomatoes
As already mentioned above you need not avoid tomatoes because they contain lectins.   By removing the seeds and the skin, you are reducing the number of lectins you consume. The reason for this is that these are the two parts of any tomato that contain the most lectins.

Even though the tomatoes you’ve purchased from your local store look benign. This isn’t the case remember it is the skin and seeds which still retain the lectins within them.

If you would still like to include tomatoes in your diet, then there are a couple of ways to cut back on the lectins you consume.

Deseeding A Tomato

When it comes to removing the seeds from a tomato, then this is the best way to do it.

  • Place the tomatoes on a chopping board and cut them in half with a sharp knife
  • Next, cut each half of the tomato into 3 wedges.
  • Now, with a small spoon, you carefully scoop out the seeds and any pulp surrounding them.
  • Then simply put these parts into the bin.

Removing The Tomato Skin

This is the most effective and quickest way for you to remove the skin off a tomato and help to remove those pesky lectins.

You will need a pan of boiling water along with a bowl of ice water.

  • Cut a small X into the bottom of each tomato (this should be opposite where the stem would have been)
  • Now place each tomato into the pan of boiling water and leave them in it for about a minute (this is known as blanching)
  • Next, you need to carefully remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them straight into the bowl that contains water and ice
  • Leave each tomato in the bowl of ice and water for a few minutes and then you will find that you can easily peel the skin away using a knife or your fingers

Even though you’ve removed the skin and seeds, you can still make a delicious tomato sauce with them. So in answer to your question, “Is tomato sauce Paleo?” I would say yes if you’ve carried out the above.

Another way to reduce the number of lectins in your tomatoes is by using the fermentation process. Through this process, you are helping good bacteria to break down many of the foods damaging substances.   Again, it is best to remove the peel and the seeds before you begin the fermentation process.

As well as helping to reduce the levels of lectins in the tomatoes. It helps to make them into great probiotic food. Something your stomach will love.

So why not give these methods a try so you can continue to include tomatoes in your diet?

Once you’ve got the tomatoes ready, then there is a wonderful array of different Paleo recipes that you could include them in.

But to help you get started, the simplest recipe you can make with these delicious and healthy fruits is a tomato sauce.

Even though you’ve removed the skin and seeds, you can still make a delicious tomato sauce with them.  So in answer to your question, “Is tomato sauce Paleo?” I would say yes if you’ve carried out the above.

Also cooking the tomato and say peppers, along with other nightshade foods helps to reduce the levels of alkaloid found in them by as much as 50%.  So you should avoid eating the tomato in its raw state whenever possible.

Recipe To Create A Delicious Tomato Sauce

Is Tomato Sauce Paleo?The wonderful thing is that once you’ve made a batch of this beautiful tasting sauce, you can use it as a base in other food that you are cooking. Once prepared you can store it in the refrigerator for between 5 and 7 days.


1 Tablespoon Cooking Fat
1 Onion – That has been finely chopped
2 Stalks of Celery – Again need to be finely chopped
1 Carrot – Peeled then finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
6 Fresh Tomatoes – Deseeded and Skin Removed
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Thyme
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Oregano
1 Bay Leaf
1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper (Freshly ground is great)


Step 1

In a large pot over a medium heat, place the fat.

Step 2

Once the fat or extra-virgin olive oil has heated up, add to the pot the following ingredients, the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook until the onion has become translucent. This should take around 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 3

Now add the minced garlic and stir until the aroma of the garlic has been released. This usually takes around a minute.

Step 4

Now add to this your deseeded and peeled skin tomatoes along with the other ingredients mentioned above, namely the oregano, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper.

Step 5

Reduce the heat and leave the sauce to cook at a gentle simmer, making sure that you stir it every 10 minutes.

Step 6

Continue cooking the sauce for around an hour or until it becomes thick and smooth.

Step 7

Once the sauce is cooked remove the bay leaf and allow the sauce to cool down. If you want to make a smoother sauce then blend it for a minute or so in a food processor.

Step 8

Once cool enough your sauce is ready to be placed in jars and then stored in the refrigerator until needed. In fact you could store your sauce in the fridge for between 5 to 7 days without any issues.  Also you could freeze some as well, to use whenever needed.

However, you may find that you start using the sauce you’ve just made immediately. Use some over some gorgeous zucchini noodles as a quick and filling lunch time snack with a few pepper flakes, bell peppers or herbs. Also a quick search online for gluten-free, grain-free, pPaleo and vegan recipes, you’ll find a great selection of ones to choose from including this particular food along with other Paleo foods.

You could even make a delicious tomato soup to which you could add some beef or other veggies. You can leave it with large chunks or with a blender make a more smooth creamy flavoured one.

The great thing about making your own soups, sauces or other tomato recipes is knowing that they don’t include any additives in them, and full of nutrients.

So in answer to the question posed above “Are Tomatoes Paleo?” I would say yes. But I would still suggest if you suffer from any kind of nightshade food sensitivities you eliminate this particular food from your list of Paleo-Friendly foods.

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