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Can Eating Tomatoes Upset Your Stomach?

author image Josie Edward
Josie Edward began writing and editing for the CU Independent in 2003. A certified nutritionist, she enjoys writing about fitness and health. Edward graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2008.
Can Eating Tomatoes Upset Your Stomach?
Though the tomato is highly nutritious, it may be the cause of stomach pain for some. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Tomatoes can be found in a variety of different foods and drinks, such as pasta sauces and salads. They are consumed worldwide for their health benefits and delicious taste. Tomatoes are one of the leading sources of the antioxidant lycopene and and also contain a high amount of vitamin C. For some, tomatoes can upset the stomach for a couple of different reasons.


The tomato is a nutrient-rich healthy fruit that can be consumed in a variety of ways, including raw, cooked and juiced. Tomatoes are one of the most common garden fruits in the United States, making it one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. They are available in a variety of different sizes and colors, each variety slightly different from the other. Tomatoes have been known to cause stomach aches for different reasons, including food allergies and because of their high acidity content.

Allergic Reaction

Food allergies can be life-threatening to some but only cause mild irritation to others. If you are constantly experiencing stomach pain after eating tomatoes, you may have a food allergy. When you ingest a food that causes an allergy, a chemical called histamine is produced by the intestines and can cause swelling which leads to cramping and stomach pains.

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High Acidity

Tomatoes contain a high amount of acidity so they may cause irritation if you suffer from heartburn or ulcers. Many individuals suffer from heartburn, ulcers, and acid reflux; meaning that they have a higher concentration of acid than normal in their stomach already. Adding a highly acidic fruit to a high concentration of acid can cause stomach aches and worsen symptoms of acid reflux, ulcer, and heartburn. Even if you do not usually suffer from heartburn, the tomato's high acidity level is enough to trigger an upset stomach.

Solving the Problem

If you do not have a food allergy to tomatoes, yet still suffer from stomach aches after eating them, there are a few guidelines you can follow to keep the fruit in your diet. The more ripe a tomato is, the less acid the fruit has. Choose tomatoes that are slightly soft instead of firm. A green tomato has a higher acidity level than a red tomato. The yellow tomato has been bred to have the lowest amount of acid and there are even varieties available that have little to no acid at all. Canned tomatoes are always more acidic than fresh tomatoes as acid is added during the canning process to help preserve the freshness. Cooked tomatoes have a lower acidity level than fresh tomatoes.

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