Toxicity of tomato plants – Canned tomatoes poison you

Have you ever heard that tomatoes can poison you? Are rumors of tomato plant toxicity true? Let’s look at the facts and decide if this is an urban myth or if tomato toxicity is a valid concern.

Can tomato plants poison you?

Whether the rumors are true or not, the idea that tomatoes can make you sick is understandable. Tomatoes are part of the Solanaceae family and, as such, are related to eggplants, potatoes and, of course, belladonna or deadly nightshade. All these cousins produce a toxin called solanine. This toxic alkaloid is part of the defense mechanism of plants, making them unattractive to animals tempted to eat them. All parts of the plant contain solanine, but the highest concentrations are usually found in the leaves and stems.

The tomato has a long, somewhat shady history due to its association with the belladonna. They are said to have been used in witchcraft and as an aphrodisiac, so it took a long time for them to be accepted as a food crop.

This is all very interesting, but does not answer the question: «Are tomato plants poisonous?

Are tomato plants toxic?

Today, tomatoes are promoted as an extremely healthy food, largely because of their

High levels of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.

While it is true that tomatoes are members of the acorn family, they actually produce a slightly different alkaloid called tomato. Tomatoes are also toxic, but not as toxic. However, when ingested in very high doses, it can cause gastrointestinal problems, liver damage and even heart damage. Its concentration is highest in unripe leaves, stems and fruit; red and ripe tomatoes contain very low doses. This does not mean that fried green tomatoes should be avoided. It would take large amounts of tomatoes to make a person sick.

Note : People with autoimmune disorders should avoid digesting tomatoes and other members of the belladonna family, which can cause inflammation problems.

Symptoms of tomato toxicity

Tomatoes contain not only tomatoes, but also a minor toxin called atropine. Some people report digestive problems from eating tomatoes, especially when combined with hot peppers. There are also unsubstantiated reports about tomatoes and a link to arthritis, but again, these are unsubstantiated claims. The effects, although unpleasant, are not life-threatening. In fact, I have found no evidence of actual poisoning due to the toxicity of the tomato plant; solanine poisoning through consumption of green potatoes is more likely (and even rare).

As for the toxicity of tomatoes to animals, again, very large quantities must be ingested. Tomato leaves have a distinctive, spicy aroma and are also covered with thorny hairs that make them less attractive to most animals. Tell this to some dogs or even cats who tend to nibble on any plant, especially when the animal is young. Symptoms of tomato toxicity are more pronounced in dogs than in people, with a list of side effects ranging from nervous system problems to digestive diseases. It is best to exercise caution and keep your pets away from tomato plants.

Some individuals may be more sensitive to alkaloids in tomatoes and should avoid them. Individuals with specific dietary plans or who are taking certain dietary supplements may want to consult a nutritionist or their doctor. For the rest of us, eat! The benefits of eating tomatoes are many and the possibility of toxicity is hardly worth mentioning – unless, of course, you hate tomatoes and are looking for a way to avoid eating them!

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