“For individuals looking to add other fruits and vegetables to their diet, can adding tomatillos provide variety and nutrition?”
Table of Contents
Tomatillos are a fruit that can bring a bright citrus flavor to various dishes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides the following information for one medium/34g tomatillo. (FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2018)
Tomatillo’s health benefits include the following.
Tomatillos provide a heart-healthy dietary addition. They are naturally low in sodium and rich in potassium, which could help regulate blood pressure. They provide vitamins A and C and antioxidants against free radicals.
The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily for various benefits. One of them is their fiber content. Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrates that can help decrease cholesterol by binding and removing cholesterol from the body. Tomatillos contain about one gram of fiber, a recommended addition to a heart-healthy diet. (American Heart Association. 2023)
Tomatillos have several antioxidants with cancer-preventing properties. They are a source of phytochemicals known as withanolides. These natural plant compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis/cell death in colon cancer cells. (Peter T. White et al., 2016) Diets high in fruits and vegetables have been associated with lower risks of cancer, making tomatillos a welcome addition to a high-antioxidant nutrition plan focused on cancer prevention.
The withanolide antioxidants are also anti-inflammatory. Research on withanolides demonstrates clinical benefits in the alleviation of symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. (Peter T. White et al., 2016) Tomatillos may help reduce inflammation, which can make arthritis more manageable.
Tomatillos provide a healthy source of key nutrients for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that concentrate in the retina and help protect against environmental deterioration. Tomatillos provide:
Tomatillos are a low-calorie whole food ingredient. Because of their high water content, it’s possible to fill up without adding excess calories. Fresh salsa made with tomatoes or tomatillos is a healthy, flavorful choice that is virtually free of added sugars. (The National Kidney Foundation. 2014)
Tomatillos are part of the nightshade family. While there is no conclusive evidence confirming any harmful effects, some individuals report experiencing sensitivity to them. (Cleveland Clinic. 2019) Individuals who believe they may be sensitive to tomatillos should consult a registered dietitian to determine the root cause and ways to improve tolerance.
Tomatillos have a distinct flavor and firm texture. They can be eaten whole with no need to seed or core them. (Drost D, Pedersen K. 2020) Use tomatillos for:
FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2018). Tomatillos, raw. Retrieved from fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168566/nutrients
American Heart Association. (2023). How to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables (Healthy Living, Issue. www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/how-to-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables
White, P. T., Subramanian, C., Motiwala, H. F., & Cohen, M. S. (2016). Natural Withanolides in the Treatment of Chronic Diseases. Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 928, 329–373. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-41334-1_14
National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (2023). Vitamin A: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
The National Kidney Foundation. (2014). 6 of the Best and Worst Condiments for Health (Kidney Basics, Issue. www.kidney.org/news/ekidney/july14/7_Best_and_Worst_Condiments_for_Health
Cleveland Clinic. (2019). What’s the Deal With Nightshade Vegetables? (healthessentials, Issue. health.clevelandclinic.org/whats-the-deal-with-nightshade-vegetables/
Jill, M. (2018). Growing Tomatillos and Ground Cherries in Home Gardens. extension.umn.edu/vegetables/growing-tomatillos-and-ground-cherries#harvest-and-storage-570315
Drost D, P. K. (2020). Tomatillos in the Garden (Horticulture, Issue. digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2658&context=extension_curall
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