Disadvantages of Eating Raw Tomatoes

Tomatoes originated in Central and South Americas and was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards in the 16th century. It is believed that tomatoes evolved from the prehistoric Nightshade plant over millions of years ago in South America. It is also believed that tomatoes were brought to Italy from Mexico by two Jesuit priests. The Aztecs first used tomatoes for cooking. At some point of time the Europeans considered them to be poisonous due to their shiny texture.

Tomato is a warm season crop and grows best under an average monthly temperature of 21-23 degrees centigrade. Both long periods of rain and long dry spells are harmful for the growth and fruiting of the plant. The tomato is a very versatile plant and can grow on almost all varieties of soil from light sandy to heavy clay. A pH range of 6-7 is also required.

While tomatoes are generally considered safe to eat both raw and cooked, there are a few potential disadvantages to consuming raw tomatoes for some individuals:

  • Digestive Sensitivity:

Some people may experience digestive discomfort or sensitivity when consuming raw tomatoes. This can be due to the presence of certain compounds such as solanine and lectins, which can be hard for some individuals to digest. Cooking tomatoes can help break down these compounds and make them easier to tolerate.

  • Allergies or Sensitivities:

In rare cases, individuals can be allergic to tomatoes or develop sensitivities to them. Raw tomatoes may trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, including symptoms like itching, hives, or digestive disturbances.

  • Acidic Nature:

Tomatoes are naturally acidic, and some people might find that consuming raw tomatoes exacerbates acid reflux or heartburn symptoms. Cooking tomatoes can reduce their acidity, making them gentler on the stomach.

  • Potentially Harmful Compounds:

Tomatoes contain small amounts of compounds called glycoalkaloids, which are associated with the nightshade family of plants. These compounds, including solanine, are more concentrated in tomato leaves and stems, but can also be found in very small amounts in the fruit. While the levels are generally not high enough to be harmful, some individuals might choose to avoid consuming these compounds altogether by cooking tomatoes.

  • Nutrient Availability:

While raw tomatoes do contain essential nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants, cooking tomatoes can actually enhance the availability of some nutrients. For example, cooking breaks down the cell walls of the tomato, making lycopene—a powerful antioxidant—more bioavailable to the body.

  • Safety Concerns:

While the risk is low, there have been instances of foodborne illnesses linked to raw tomatoes due to contamination from bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. Washing raw tomatoes thoroughly can help reduce this risk.


Too much consumption of tomatoes can cause tomato leaf poisoning in some people. A few symptoms of this poisoning are irritation of throat and mouth, dizziness and it may sometimes even cause death. Due to their acidic nature, too much consumption of tomatoes might cause acid reflux. Tomatoes not grown organically might have the high levels of pesticide residue. Tomatoes contain potassium and high potassium levels in blood can impair kidney function. So it is advisable to consume raw tomatoes in moderation.

Leave a Reply