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What is Tomatine?

Fitday Editor

Tomatine is a poisonous alkaloid element found in the tomato plant. Scientists call it a glycoalkaloid and refer to its antifungal properties. Tomatine is found in the green parts of the plant, such as the leaves, stems, and unripe fruit. The ripe red tomato has only very minimal levels of tomatine and is generally safe for human consumption. Even unripe fruits don't have enough tomatine to make the average person sick. That makes the dangers of tomatine a relatively theoretical part of nutritional science.

Toxicity of Tomatine in Humans

Primary education on the toxicity of tomatine doesn't have much to do with eating the fruits of the tomato plant. After all, fried green tomatoes are a delicacy in restaurants, and if tomatine was generally toxic in the levels carried in the actual tomato, that would mean a lot of liability for those who serve it up to the public. Information on tomatine generally shows why the leafy greens of the tomato plant are not part of the local gastronomy in parts of the world that love to eat tomatoes, but for some individuals, even the tomato itself is not the best choice for regular diet, partly because of various elements like tomatine.

Toxicity of Tomatine in Animals

Tomatine generally has a higher toxic impact on dogs than it has on people, which is why it's important to educate pet owners about the relative toxicity of these elements in the tomato plant. Lists of side effects for tomatine poisoning include a wide range of symptoms from nervous system ailments to digestive problems.

Other Reports of Tomatine Symptoms

Although tomatine in the ripe tomato is generally not harmful, some individuals report various side effects of these substances and others that occur naturally in the vegetable world. Scientists have found that besides tomatine, there is another somewhat toxic ingredient called atropine in the tomato plant. Either or both of these are said to be involved in some cases of digestive difficulty when they are combined with hot peppers or other similar foods. Some nutritionists also consider tomatoes to be part of the general family of nightshades, along with vegetables like potatoes and eggplants, that carry some other potentially toxic elements that can have an effect on some consumers. Nightshades are generally known for a bitter taste when the toxins are present.

Although some consider tomatoes to be essentially healthy, others consider them a hazardous food that can contribute to arthritis and other pain. The nutrition of the tomato is very much in debate on some nutritional forums where food science enthusiasts talk about the negatives of elements like tomatine, versus the positives of other ingredients like lycopene.

Those who are involved in a specific diet or supplement program can talk to their nutritionists about whether tomatine represents a potential health hazard for them. Getting customized nutritional information is part of boosting your dietary health, and what is true for one person may not be sure for all people. Look into the latest research on food science and observe your diet to see if you are susceptible to tomatine or other potential toxins.

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