Low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and folate, tomatoes can be a tasty part of a healthy diet. Their high water content helps keep you hydrated, and their antioxidants promote good health. They are also highly versatile. You can consume tomatoes raw or cook them into savory sauces and soups. However, under certain conditions or at certain times, tomatoes can actually be bad for your health. Here are 11 times you may want to avoid eating tomatoes.

11. Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

The acids in tomatoes can cause pain and discomfort if you suffer from acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition in which a weakened valve at the entrance to your stomach allows stomach acids to back up and irritate the esophagus. Foods such as tomatoes, pineapples, and citrus fruits are high in acidity and can further irritate and aggravate an inflamed esophagus. Alcohol, caffeine, and fried or greasy foods are also irritating if you suffer from acid reflux. Meanwhile, yogurt, oatmeal, green vegetables, and cantaloupe are foods that can provide nutrients without adding to the pain of acid reflux.

10. Food Allergy

Allergic Reaction

Some people who suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever may also notice an allergic reaction when eating certain fruits. This type of allergy, oral allergy syndrome (OAS), can cause symptoms such as an itchy mouth or swelling of the throat. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergic reactions due to OAS can be worse when a particular pollen trigger is in season. Therefore, if you are allergic to the summer pollen triggers of Timothy and orchard grass, you may develop a cross-reaction to tomatoes. Talk with your doctor if your OAS symptoms become worse over time.

9. Bacterial Contamination

Bacterial Infection

Like other produce, tomatoes may become contaminated with foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria. Fruits and vegetables may become contaminated with bacteria at the farms where they are grown, during transport, in a warehouse, or even in your own kitchen. To decrease the risk of coming down with a foodborne illness, keep fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to slow bacterial growth. Then, scrub tomatoes and other produce under running water to wash away surface germs before consuming. Keep raw meats separate from fruits and veggies to prevent cross-contamination with bacteria.

8. Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are painful masses that can build up in your kidney and cause a blockage. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the majority of these stones are made up of calcium oxalate. Some patients who are susceptible to kidney stones may test high for oxalates. In this case, they may be able to prevent the formation of new kidney stones by eating a diet low in oxalates. While a single tomato may not be high in oxalate, tomato soups or tomato sauces may contain a high concentration of oxalates. Therefore, if you are on a low-oxalate diet, you may want to avoid tomato products.

7. Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

Tomatoes may also cause a problem if you suffer from kidney disease. If your kidneys are unable to process sodium and potassium adequately, your doctor may recommend a low-sodium, low-potassium diet. While tomatoes themselves are not high in sodium, tomato products such as ketchup, soups, and tomato sauce are often high in salt. Meanwhile, tomatoes are higher in potassium than many other fruits and vegetables. If you suffer from kidney disease, talk with your doctor to find out if you have any dietary restrictions.

Related: 9 Habits That Hurt Your Kidneys

6. Poisonous Leaves

Food Poisoning

Tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, and as such contain the chemicals solanine and tomatine. These substances are especially concentrated in the leaves of the tomato plant. Therefore, consuming large amounts of tomato leaves could trigger symptoms of solanine poisoning, such as vomiting and diarrhea. According to Gardening Know How, you would have to consume a large quantity of these sharp-smelling, prickly leaves to be poisoned by them. However, if you frequently suffer from indigestion or fatigue after eating tomatoes, Amy Myers MD suggests you may have a sensitivity to nightshade plants.

5. Inflamed Joints

Inflamed Joints

Some people may notice their joints become achy and inflamed after eating tomatoes. This may be due to an allergic response as histamine is released in the body. It may also be another sign of a sensitivity to solanine in tomatoes. Some patients with arthritis find that their joints ache after eating nightshade plants like eggplant or tomato. However, the Arthritis Foundation states that there has not been a lot of scientific evidence pointing to a link between arthritis and these plants. A food diary may help you to determine if certain foods trigger painful episodes of arthritic inflammation.

4. Lycopenodermia


Many fruits and vegetables contain pigments, carotenoids, that give them a vibrant color and signal the presence of powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your heart and your body cells by decreasing the damage caused by free radicals. When you consume too much of certain fruits or vegetables, your skin may actually take on the hue of these carotenoids. In the case of tomatoes, the lycopene from excessive tomato consumption can give your skin a deep orange tint.

Related: Why Red Foods are Good for the Body

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Preparing Your Bowels

Foods that irritate the gastrointestinal tract can trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This increases the risk of aggravating symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, and stomach pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, foods that are linked to symptoms of irritable bowels may include wheat, dairy, citrus fruits, and cabbage. Some people find that the acids or the seeds in tomatoes are irritating to the gastrointestinal tract and can trigger IBS as well.

2. Excess Sodium in Packaged Products

Canned Tomato Products

Individuals who are on a low-sodium diet may need to avoid processed tomato products due to their high salt content. Canned foods such as tomato soup, ketchup, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauces may have high levels of added salt. Salt is typically added to enhance flavor or prevent spoiling. Patients on low-sodium diets may include people with high blood pressure, heart conditions, kidney disease, and lymphedema. If you enjoy tomato sauces, you can make your own at home using fresh tomatoes and limited quantities of salt.

1. Migraines


Migraine headaches can be triggered by certain foods. Foods commonly associated with migraine headaches are chocolate, alcohol, processed meats, and foods made with MSG. Some patients find that tomatoes trigger their migraine headaches. According to Tufts University, the histamine in tomatoes may be one factor in causing migraines. Keeping a food diary and documenting the onset of migraine headaches may help you and your doctor to narrow down the source of your migraine headaches.

Related: 10 Poisons Consumed Daily


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