You may not realize it, but tomatoes are a major part of many people’s diets.
Sure, they’re tasty and juicy-but what is it about these red fruits that makes us crave them so much?
This blog post will explore the top two main reasons why people crave tomatoes!
We’ll also go into detail about how you can confirm the likely cause behind your tomato cravings.
Reason #1 – Nutrient Deficiency
You might be craving tomatoes because your body is short on vitamins found within tomatoes.
If you are lacking nutrients then your body will send ‘signals’ to eat foods with the missing nutrients.
By ‘signals’ I mean food cravings!
Yes, that’s right. Your body will make you crave foods if your body is lacking a nutrient which can be found in the foods it’s craving.
Nutrient Deficiency Causes Cravings, Even For Milk!
In fact just the other day I suddenly had this huge craving for milk.
I had a great workout after work with some bench press and dumbbell lifting. When I got home, all of a sudden, I was suddenly craving milk! It’s been awhile since that happened.
I poured myself a glass of milk and downed it promptly. And then another glass of milk too!
But then after the second glass of milk my food cravings went away. Vroom! Gone!
My body was craving the water, protein and energy from milk.
See, my sweaty workout had depleted my body’s water. And now my muscles were hungry for protein too!
After I got the protein and water from milk, my body was satisfied and my cravings went away.
I hope you understand this general principle:
Nutrient Deficiencies Cause Food Cravings
What Does Eating Tomatoes Do For Your Body?
Tomatoes have tons of beneficial nutrients for your body.
If you are short on these nutrients then it’s quite possible that you are craving tomatoes to make up for your body’s nutrient deficiency.
Here are nutrients tomatoes provide. If you are deficient in these nutrients, that could explain your tomato cravings:
- Tomatoes are a good source of iron. This is why many people crave them when they have iron deficiency anemia. For more info on iron deficiency anemia read my article here on ice cravings.
- Tomatoes also contain Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps us maintain healthy eyes, skin, teeth, hair and nails. It also supports our immune system so we can fight off infections.
- Vitamin C boosts the immune system by making white blood cells to combat bacteria and viruses.
- Vitamin K helps regulate clotting factors which helps with blood pressure and prevents hemorrhaging after birth or surgery.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene. This is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Plus tomatoes provide fiber for digestion and more potassium than bananas do!
If you want to read more about the health benefits of tomatoes see this Medical News Today article.
Is It OK To Eat A Lot Of Tomatoes?
“If I am craving tomatoes because my body is deficient in nutrients, then what if I just eat a lot of tomatoes? Is it OK to eat a lot of tomatoes?“
Great question! Glad you asked 🙂
Good news – it is ok to eat a lot of tomatoes. Tomatoes are a great source of the nutrients listed above.
Tomatoes also have lots of fiber, which will help with digestion if you happen to eat too many!
Please remember: if you are missing a nutrient then the cravings will go away after you get more of this food.
To determine if you are craving tomatoes due to nutrient deficiency, try having some tomatoes each day. See if your cravings diminish.
*If you still feel like your craving for tomatoes isn’t satisfied after eating them, then be sure that you’re getting enough iron. Also include foods rich in vitamin C. Try more oranges or strawberries for vitamin C and try spinach for iron, all the while trying to increase your tomato intake.*
Reason #2 – You’re Restricting Tomato Related Foods
If you purposefully avoid any specific food, you will want that food.
Let me explain better with science! One study examined the impact of food restriction and food choices on children.
Three groups of children were presented with a first food buffet of ‘red’ foods: red M&m’s, watermelon, and strawberry yogurt.
But, one group of children was told they could not pick any red MM candy. The second group could not have any watermelon and the third no strawberry yogurt.
24 hours after the first food buffet, the children were presented with the same buffet. But this time they could pick any foods they wanted to eat.
The first group,which couldn’t have red MM candy in the first buffet, chose to eat more red MM candy. The second group ate more watermelon and the third had more strawberry yogurt.
And these were children around age 5 who were not dieting or concerned with calories!
They were just listening to their bodies and their bodies told them to eat the foods they had restricted earlier.
What If You’re Not Restricting Tomatoes and Still Crave Them?
At first glance you might say, “Well, I have no problem with tomatoes and I don’t restrict them. So why do I crave tomatoes?“
One potential reason is because you are restricting common foods that are associated with tomatoes.
For example, French fries are notoriously ‘bad’ for your health with all their salt, sugar and carbs. Now what goes with French fries? Ketchup!
Oftentimes people will avoid eating French fries. And if you don’t have any fries, then perhaps you aren’t having any ketchup or tomatoes either.
Admittedly, by restricting French fries you would most likely start to crave French fries.
However, it’s possible that in your attempts to cut out French fries you are also causing a ‘mental’ tomato deprivation!
Imagine if you are not only restricting French fries, but also burgers. Well, ketchup and tomatoes go on burgers too so now you are missing out on tomatoes from not just French fries, but burgers too!
Pizza is another common food that can give people difficulty. For example, at the Eating Disorder Clinic where I work, we have pizza nights on Wednesdays. And many times people with anorexia struggle to eat pizza because they are afraid of calories.
But if you don’t eat any pizza then you could potentially start craving tomatoes because you don’t get the sauce!
There are a bunch of foods that you may be avoiding which contain tomatoes. And by avoiding these foods you are mentally causing yourself to crave tomatoes!
List of Unhealthy Foods That Contain or Go With Tomatoes
- French fries
- Burgers (ketchup, tomatoes))
- Pizza with tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni
- Red pasta sauces are usually made from crushed fresh tomatoes – for example, lasagna marinara sauce.
What If You Crave Tomatoes and Can’t Stop?
Now that we have covered the top two main reasons you crave tomatoes, let’s cover some basic steps you can take to stop craving them.
Try Healthy Foods That Contain Tomatoes:
Tomato soup (especially home-made) and tomato sauce are two common foods that contain tomatoes but fit into a more healthy diet.
Tomato juice is also one to consider in place of French fries or other unhealthy choices.
Fresh-cooked vegetables with fresh chopped tomatoes as an ingredient can be used for lunch while you’re working on your craving issues!
Eating healthy foods with tomatoes can help you meet any nutrient deficiencies. This will help curb the cravings during the day when they’re most likely to happen.
Here are some more tips to adding some tomatoes to your daily routine:
- Add tomatoes to breakfast omelets, soups and salads.
- Start by including one tomato per day up until you reach the desired amount of consumption.
- Eat more tomatoes in combination with your favorite vegetables or use them as a side dish for dinner dishes that lack vitamins and minerals.
- Tomatoes are also great toppings on pastas! Try combining spaghetti noodles with red sauce. Mix in chunks of fresh tomatoes for a complete meal that’s satisfying both physically and emotionally.
Drink More Water
One last step in reducing tomato cravings is to drink as much water as possible during the day. Tomatoes have a lot of fluids in them, but it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking enough water!
Here are some tips to drink more water throughout the day:
- Drink a glass of water before every meal.
- Try to drink a gallon of water daily (about eight glasses). This is roughly the amount that’s recommended for an individual who doesn’t exercise or sweat often, so it may be more than you need! In this case, try aiming for half a gallon per day and gradually increase your intake as needed.
- Carry around a reusable bottle or cup filled with cold filtered water. You’ll always have access to fresh clean drinking fluid even when your schedule gets hectic! Your muscles will thank you too because hydration prevents cramps also to fatigue caused by dehydration.
Craving For Tomatoes Final Thoughts
Cravings are a curious thing. We all have them, and they can be difficult to ignore when you’re very hungry or thirsty.
But sometimes cravings happen for no reason at all!
It’s not uncommon to crave something that your body needs, but it is common to feel guilty about these cravings because we think of some food as “bad.”
The fact is, if you crave tomatoes (or anything else) while dieting and restricting, then there may be an underlying nutrient deficiency getting in your body’s way.
You need more vitamins to get the nutrients that would make up for this deficit–and so does your brain!
If you find yourself craving tomatoes without any other explanation, talk with an eating coach or specialist who can help you further!