Regular consumption of tomatoes has been associated with decreased risk of chronic degenerative diseases. Epidemiological findings confirm the observed health effects are due to the presence of different antioxidant molecules such as carotenoids, particularly lycopene, ascorbic acid, vitamin E and phenol compounds, particularly flavonoids. In this work, eight components contributing to the healthy quality of tomato (i. e. lycopene, beta-carotene, other carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, vitamins C and E, dry residue) were studied in the framework of breeding programs aiming to develop nutritional superior genotypes. Twelve tomato advanced breeding lines and six open pollinated cultivars were grown in strictly controlled conditions and analysed for their content of antioxidants. Among the 18 genotypes analysed, 10 showed a high level of total carotenoids, 6 high level of beta-carotene, 9 high lycopene levels, 15 high flavonoids and 2 relevant concentration of vitamin E. Based on such data and on a literature survey on tomato composition, an index, called index of antioxidant nutritional quality (I(QUAN)), was proposed as a tool to address the breeding programs in selecting tomato genotypes with antioxidant nutritional qualities.