Is Tomato Soup Good For You? It Depends

Tomato soup is one of the most popular soup options in the world.

Being a tomato product, this soup contains various health-promoting compounds, yet it may also have some downsides.

So, is tomato soup good for you? The answer depends on various factors.

In this article, we explore the positive and negative aspects of tomato soup.

Tomato soup in a white bowl.

Tomato Soup Contains a Good Variety of Vitamins and Minerals

Some people turn to tomato soup when they are ill as a cold-fighting remedy.

While the effectiveness of this practice is debatable, it likely comes from the soup’s easy-to-consume form and its rich nutrient content.

For example, a 148-gram cup of canned tomato soup provides at least 5% of the recommended daily value (% DV) for the following essential vitamins and minerals (1, 2):

  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium

Furthermore, many of these nutrients are present at significantly higher levels than 5% of the daily value, as we will examine later.

Key Point: A key benefit of tomato soup is that it provides a broad range of vitamins and minerals in an easy-to-consume form.

A Rich Source of Vitamin C and Potassium

Among the wide range of vitamins and minerals present in tomato soup, potassium and vitamin C deserve special attention.

In a 148-gram cup serving, canned tomato soup contains (1, 2):

  • 19.1 mg of vitamin C (21.2% DV)
  • 832 mg of potassium (17.7% DV)

With over a fifth of the daily value for vitamin C, tomato soup is an excellent source of this essential vitamin. Among its roles in the body, vitamin C supports the immune system, combats damage from free radicals through its antioxidant properties, and supports collagen production (3, 4).

In regard to potassium, it’s noteworthy that the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans classified it as a ‘nutrient of public health concern’ (5). This designation came as a significant proportion of the population fail to meet recommended potassium intake levels, which can lead to adverse impacts on health such as increased blood pressure (6).

A cup of tomato soup is a simple way to get approximately one-fifth of the daily value for both of these crucial nutrients.

Key Point: Tomato soup offers high levels of vitamin C and potassium.

Tomato Soup Is An Excellent Source of Lycopene

Lycopene, a type of carotenoid, has bioactive properties. In other words, it can exert beneficial effects in the human body (7).

Moreover, tomatoes and tomato-based products are the primary dietary sources of lycopene (8).

Notably, processed tomato products typically offer a higher level of bioavailable lycopene than whole tomatoes. This is because lycopene is stored in the cell walls of tomatoes, which limits how much of it we can absorb (9).

However, in tomato products like tomato soup, tomato juice, tomato paste, and tomato passata, processing and cooking the tomato breaks the cell walls down, freeing the lycopene and making it easier to absorb (10).

Studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of processed tomato products, including tomato soup, significantly increase blood levels of lycopene (11, 12).

Why might lycopene be beneficial?

Large systematic reviews have demonstrated that lycopene may have several potential health benefits, including:

  • Decreased fasting blood glucose: A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis found that, across 11 trials, lycopene intake led to lower fasting blood glucose (13).
  • A reduction in malondialdehyde levels: Malondialdehyde is a compound produced from the oxidation of fats by free radicals. A 2023 systematic review and meta-analysis found that lycopene intake was associated with significant reductions in Malondialdehyde levels. Previous studies have demonstrated that lycopene may help to inhibit oxidative stress and fatty acid oxidation (14, 15, 16).
  • May lower risk of chronic disease and all-cause mortality: A 2021 umbrella review of meta-analyses and systematic reviews established a correlation between dietary lycopene intake a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and several other health issues (17).

According to the USDA’s FoodData Central Database, a 148-gram cup of canned tomato soup contains 16.1 mg of lycopene (3).

Interestingly, dietary lycopene intake varies significantly across different populations. This ranges from a daily 14.3 mg for the average Italian to as low as 1.1 mg in the United Kingdom (18).

Key Point: Tomato soup is one of the best foods for increasing lycopene intake, a carotenoid compound that may have benefits for human health.

Tomato Soup Is Typically High In Salt

On the downside, most commercial tomato soup products often boast a high salt content.

Salt is composed of approximately 50% sodium, an essential mineral that can raise blood pressure at high intake levels (19, 20).

According to the World Health Organization, the global mean sodium intake among adults is 4310 mg per day. This sodium intake level is over double the World Health Organization’s recommended limit of 2000 mg per day (21).

On this note, according to the USDA database, a 148-gram cup of canned tomato soup typically contains 558 mg of sodium (1). Interestingly, even a McDonald’s Hamburger has a lower sodium content at 469 mg (22).

The sodium content will vary across different tomato soup products. For example, Campbell’s condensed tomato soup is one of the most popular products, and it contains 467 mg of sodium per half-cup serving (23).

Given that many individuals consume tomato soup as a complement or side dish to a meal, this could involve a significant additional sodium intake.

Habitually high sodium levels can contribute to elevated blood pressure, thereby raising the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease and related events (24, 25).

Key Point: Commercial tomato soup products tend to have a high sodium content.

Low-Salt Tomato Soup Options Are Available

While commercial tomato soup products typically contain high levels of salt, there are some low-salt options available.

Low-salt tomato soup may either be a specially formulated product with reduced salt content or a homemade version with minimal added salt.

However, consumer adoption of low-salt tomato soup faces two main challenges.

Firstly, commercial low-sodium tomato soup products can be significantly harder to find.

Secondly, research has identified several barriers to consumer acceptance of low-salt tomato soup:

  • In one study, among 148 participants, “reducing salt in the tomato soup led to a significant decline in consumer acceptability.” Furthermore, “incorporating herbs and spices did not lead to an immediate enhancement in liking.” However, repeated exposure to herb and spice-rich low-salt tomato soup rich in herbs and spices did lead “to an increased” consumer liking (26).
  • A 2019 study investigated the factors influencing consumer liking of tomato soup. This study found that when tomato soup had a low fat content, higher salt levels drove consumer acceptance. That said, inclusion of herbs did increase consumer liking when sodium and fat levels were low (27).

Although the inclusion of herbs and spices may enhance the taste of low-salt options, consumers tend to prefer tomato soups with higher salt levels.

Key Point: Low-sodium tomato soup is available, but faces challenges in both availability and consumer acceptance.

Tomato Soup Is Low In Protein

Another potential downside of tomato soup is that its naturally low in protein.

In this regard, a typical cup serving of canned tomato soup contains only two grams of protein (1).

However, whether or not this is a drawback depends on how individuals consume the soup. If enjoyed as a side to a protein-rich meal, the soup’s low-protein content may not be an issue.

On the other hand, if one regularly enjoys tomato soup as a standalone meal with a piece of bread, the lack of protein may be more of a concern.

Increasing the protein content of tomato soup

Enhancing the protein content of tomato soup is possible.

For instance, tomato soup, whether store-bought or homemade, can be the base of a nutritious meal.

In this context, incorporating protein-rich foods and some vegetables to the soup would make for a more balanced meal.

One example of this is shakshuka, a North African tomato stew that includes poached eggs and an assortment of vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Additionally, a 2023 study involving 102 participants investigated consumer acceptance of tomato soups enriched with protein powders at a ratio of 6% of total volume (28).

The study revealed that adding hemp, pea, and soy protein decreased overall consumer liking and enjoyment of flavor and texture. However, the addition of whey protein had a minimal impact on overall liking and did not significantly affect views of flavor and texture.

Therefore, the availability of protein-enriched tomato soup products could increase. This may also be a consideration for some individuals who enjoy making homemade tomato soup.

Key Point: While most commercial tomato soup products are low in protein, additional protein-rich foods or protein powder can be incorporated to increase the protein content.

What Is the Nutritional Profile of Tomato Soup?

It is important to note that the nutritional values of any homemade tomato soup can vary significantly depending on the ingredients used and their quantities.

That said, we can examine the average nutritional profile of commercial canned tomato soup.

The following tables illustrate the typical nutritional profile for a 148-gram cup of canned tomato soup.

The data is sourced from the USDA’s FoodData Central. Daily values have been calculated using this data and the FDA’s recommended daily values (1, 2).

NameAmount% Daily Value
Calories98 kcal
Carbohydrates22.5 g8.2%
Fiber1.63 g5.8%
Sugars12.2 g
Fat0.65 g0.8%
Saturated0.17 g0.9%
Monounsaturated0.20 g
Polyunsaturated0.23 g
Omega-30.037 g
Omega-60.195 g
Protein2.16 g4.3%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Table 1: Nutrition facts for tomato soup, canned, condensed, per 148-gram cup

As the table indicates, tomato soup is low in calories. It has a modest carbohydrate content, and very low levels of fat and protein.


VitaminAmount% Daily Value
Choline18.9 mg3.4%
Folate, DFE0 mcg0%
Vitamin A, RAE29.6 mcg3.3%
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)0.062 mg5.2%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.022 mg1.7%
Vitamin B3 (niacin)1.27 mg7.9%
Vitamin B60.127 mg7.5%
Vitamin B120 mcg0%
Vitamin C19.1 mg21.2%
Vitamin D0 mcg0%
Vitamin E0 mg0%
Vitamin K4.74 mcg4.0%
Table 2: Vitamin composition of tomato soup, canned, condensed, per 148-gram cup

In terms of its vitamin composition, tomato soup is high in vitamin C. It also offers a good quantity of vitamins B1, B3, and B6.


MineralAmount% Daily Value
Calcium19.2 mg1.5%
Copper0.074 mg8.2%
Iron0.873 mg4.9%
Magnesium20.7 mg4.9%
Manganese0.204 mg8.9%
Phosphorus 45.9 mg3.7%
Potassium832 mg17.7%
Selenium4.44 mcg8%
Sodium558 mg24.3%
Zinc0.266 mg2.4%
Table 3: Mineral composition of tomato soup, canned, condensed, per 148-gram cup

Tomato soup is typically high in sodium. It also provides a high amount of potassium, alongside moderate quantities of copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese.

Is Tomato Soup a Healthy Choice?

Determining whether tomato soup is good for us requires a nuanced examination of its ingredient and nutrient profile.

Canned tomato soup

In the case of commercial canned tomato soup with a relatively high salt content:

  • If an individual’s diet already contains high levels of sodium, adding tomato soup would further increase sodium intake, likely having a negative health impact.
  • In the case of diets with moderate sodium intake and a lack of vitamin C and potassium, incorporating tomato soup could have beneficial effects.

Homemade tomato soup

Several factors influence the health properties of homemade tomato soup:

  • Are large or modest amounts of salt being added to the soup?
  • How much added fat and sugars are being used?
  • Are any additional ingredients, such as protein-rich foods and vegetables, being added?

When prepared with modest quantities of added fats, sugars, and salt, homemade tomato soup can be a healthy, nutrient-rich choice.

This is particularly true when it is part of a meal incorporating a variety of vegetables and a sufficient source of protein.

How can we enhance the nutritional properties of tomato soup?

Here are some ways in which we can enrich the nutritional profile of homemade or store-bought tomato soup:

  • Olive oil: Incorporate olive oil for a source of healthy monounsaturated fats.
  • Meat/seafood/legumes/tofu: Add meat, seafood or tofu to the soup for a more complete, protein-containing meal. Adding legumes would enhance the fiber content of the soup as well as its protein provision.
  • Carrots and potatoes: Include carrots and potatoes to increase the vitamin A, C and potassium content of the soup. Potatoes will also thicken and improve the soup’s texture.
  • Bell peppers, garlic, and onions: Add these vegetables to add some sweetness to the soup alongside improving its overall flavor. These foods also provide a boost in vitamin C.
  • Herbs and spices: Adding seasonings like basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, and rosemary can slightly increase the micronutrient content of the soup as well as add polyphenols and lots of flavor.
Photo of author

Michael Joseph, MSc

Michael works as a nutrition educator in a community setting and holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. He believes in providing reliable and objective nutritional information to allow informed decisions.