What is the blue tomato? Benefits and properties

The blue tomato is a recently created transgenic fruit. It was developed 8 years ago for medicinal purposes in Norwich, UK, in an experiment conducted by more than 300 scientists.

The genes of a common tomato were altered and some belonging to the ornamental snapdragon flower of the plant were added. Antirrhinum majus, which has an intense purple color. They are rich in a pigment with recognized antioxidant properties called anthocyanin.

The fruit obtained from transgenesis is indigo blue on the outside and its intensity increases with the sun's rays. Inside it maintains the traditional red color when ripe and has almost no seeds. Are you curious to know about the benefits and properties of blue tomatoes for health?

Properties and benefits of blue tomato

Although it has not been massively marketed, in countries such as Canada, the United States and Spain they are being produced on a large scale for specialized stores. The anthocyanin concentration in tomatoes was enhanced and the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants created them for the production of vaccines.

The properties and benefits of blue tomato are due to the presence of a powerful antioxidant pigment called anthocyanin. But what are they? Anthocyanins are a group of water-soluble substances belonging to the group of flavonoids, responsible for the colors that go from red to blue in vegetables.

They are used as natural colorants, improving not only the appearance of food, but also providing added value for consumption. They remain intact as they pass through the digestive tract, maintaining their antioxidant activity. Let's take a closer look at the benefits of blue tomato consumption.

Anthocyanins provide red and blue colors to vegetables, as well as being antioxidants.

Also read: Does eating tomato help you lose weight?

Antioxidant effect and eye diseases

A group of Japanese researchers demonstrated the effect of blue tomato extract as an antioxidant. Its anthocyanins, especially petunidin, were able to inhibit the peroxide that induces cell death and damage to photoreceptor cells in the retina. Blue tomato extract could be a prophylactic treatment to avoid oxidative stress that causes eye diseases.

Prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Fruits rich in anthocyanins are capable of capture and neutralize oxidizing agents, such as hydrogen peroxide and free radicals. These can cause oxidative stress associated with endothelial dysfunction and clogged arteries, leading to cardiovascular accidents.

Possible anti-cancer action

Gonzali recently conducted a pilot experiment described in the magazine Antioxidants in mice with cancer fed blue tomatoes. The extension of their half-life was demonstrated by comparing them with diseased mice supplemented with traditional red tomato.

It is speculated that tomatoes enriched in anthocyanins could benefit the health of these animals. There is still no good evidence in humans and the effect should be considered only as experimental so far.

Anti-inflammatory activity

Nitric oxide is an oxidizing agent and mediator of the inflammatory process, produced from macrophages. The Concentrated anthocyanin extracts have an inhibitory effect on the production of the substance. In addition, they reduce prostaglandins, especially EG2, also active in inflammation.


The positive effect of anthocyanins in the improvement of diabetic retinopathy has been known for more than two decades. In an article published in the magazine Journal of Food Science, Tristan demonstrated the hypoglycemic properties of anthocyanin consumption in diabetic patients.

They inhibit digestive enzymes, such as alpha amylase, which is responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates. This allows for a slower digestibility and a decrease in the absorption rate of glucose.

Anti-aging and cognitive behavior

The protective action of anthocyanins as free radical blockers delay cellular aging, including that of brain tissue. The consumption of these pigments reduces memory impairment, increasing concentration and intellectual performance.

Other benefits of blue tomato

Tomato with anthocyanins helps liver function. Further, prevents the oxidation of blood cholesterol and its intervention in the formation of plaques atheromatous in the arteries.

What makes blue tomato different from other types of tomatoes?

There are obvious differences and others not so much between the blue tomato and the traditional ones. The most noticeable is the color, while other sensory ones have to be tasted to distinguish them.

Sensory differences

Among the sensory differences we find the following:

  • Colour: the blue tomato has 11 types of anthocyanins that enhance its color. The most important are petunidin, malvidin, and delphinidin. They are soluble in water and give a blue-violet color. Lycopene was also found in the skin, but its red color is clouded by anthocyanins. In traditional tomatoes the color is given exclusively by the lycopene.
  • Texture, taste and smell: the blue tomato has a juicier texture than the traditional tomato and its taste and smell are more reminiscent of plums. Its juices are blue in color, so it is recommended in salads and jams. Traditional tomatoes are sweeter and juiciness depends on ripeness.

Nutritional and functional differences

Among the nutritional differences we will mention the following:

  • Vitamins and minerals: the blue tomato has higher contents of vitamin A, pyridoxine, vitamin C and K. Minerals such as iron and calcium, which are not usually present in common tomatoes, are found in a very high proportion. Potassium levels are also above.
  • Antioxidant: the genetic modification of the blue tomato to enrich it in anthocyanin from the flavonoids of the snapdragon flower has made it possible to declare it as a modified superfood. The rest of the tomatoes contain fat-soluble carotenoids, such as lycopene.

The red color of the traditional tomato is due to lycopene, but anthocyanins are the majority in blue.

Read also: How to make homemade fried tomato

Uses of blue tomato in the kitchen

Blue tomatoes can be used in traditional cuisine as part of salads. Its fruity and less acid taste contrasts with the other tomatoes. They can be combined to make dressings and sauces, attractive blue or purple juices and tasty jams.

You should try to prepare these tomatoes without heating, since their water-soluble pigment is unstable to heat and modifies the color. In addition to the loss of pigment in the cooking water. An ideal recipe is the hearty blue tomato salad, accompanied by cucumber, pickle, onions and a rich artichoke. It is garnished with olive oil, mustard, oregano, capers, salt and pepper.

The inclusion of blue tomato as an ingredient rich in antioxidants improves the functional qualities of the meal plan. But nevertheless, it is recommended not to abuse its consumption until more scientific studies are developed on its direct use in the control and prevention of certain diseases. Bon appetit and good health!