Important reasons why you should consume tomatoes daily:
Did you know that tomatoes contain lycopene? Do you know what lycopene is? Lycopene is a natural red pigment that gives certain fruit and vegetables, such as tomatoes and watermelon, a red color. Lycopene is found in watermelon, guava, grapefruit, papaya and many tomato based products. It is also known to be one of the most frequently used food additives for color and health benefits.
What tomatoes have
“Tomatoes are the best natural source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that belongs to the vitamin A family. It’s often in the news for its potential to prevent prostate cancer, but research has produced mixed results, according to a review in November 2011 in the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.” A study published in the October 2012 issue of the journal “Neurology” reported that men who ate more lycopene had a lower risk of strokes. Guidelines for daily consumption of lycopene haven’t been established, but eating about 4 to 8 milligrams daily is probably enough to produce health benefits. You’ll get 4.6 milligrams of lycopene in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.”(organicfacts.net)
A fruit or a vegetable?
Tomatoes are considered both fruits and vegetables. It is recommended to consume at least 1 or 2 fruit servings a day. This is probably the reason why many people are finding ways of consuming tomatoes other ways instead in just salads. I have always been encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables throughout my younger years. Tomato is one of the most used food used in the Caribbean. It is added in mostly all types of salads.
I often add tomatoes to my salads for color and for nutritional values. Although it is always available in my household, I prefer to cook with fresh tomatoes instead of using tomato paste. I find certain types of tomatoes to have a slight tough skin. I often buy more than one type, one for salad and another for cooking. I also buy one type when they are not on sale to manage by food budget better.
We have heard that daily consumption of tomatoes improves health, and it is true. Tomatoes also add flavor to food and specially in a Creole Sauce. Have you noticed that tomatoes are always available in supermarkets? The reason they are always available is because they are easy to cultivate and grow very quickly. You can almost say that they are a staple food for many nations.
Organic vs non-organic
Tomatoes come in many varieties, shapes, and sizes. Did you know that tomatoes have been proven to fight different forms of cancer? It has! It is best to do your research and talk to your doctor to find out more about consuming tomatoes. Many people argue that there isn’t much difference between organically grown tomatoes and conventionally grown tomatoes. Let’s think about this for a second.
Organic tomatoes are grown without the addition of chemical fertilizers whereas conventionally grown tomatoes are. When chemical fertilizers are not added tomatoes contains a higher amount of antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol. Conventionally grown tomatoes are sprayed with large quantities of pesticides and insecticides. We consume these chemical everyday when we do not properly clean our veggies and fruits. So make sure you clean and wash them thoroughly.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes have a long list of health benefits. Tomato helps with eye sight, lowers blood pressure, good source of antioxidants, prevents urinary tract infections, protects the heart, reduces cholesterol, and give some relief to diabetes. Additionally, tomatoes can increase digestion, stimulate blood circulation, protect the kidneys, detoxify the body, and reduce inflammation and related conditions.
“The many health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of nutrients and vitamins, including an impressive amount of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as significant amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper. Tomatoes also have dietary fiber and protein, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that also contribute to the overall health benefits that tomatoes can confer to our health!” (organicfacts.net)
Does tomato paste have the same nutritional values as fresh tomatoes?
Tomato paste contains the same nutritional values as fresh tomatoes. Tomato paste is a good sources of antioxidants.
Earlier in the article, I mentioned that fresh tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. Well, tomato paste also contains lycopene. The lycopene is not lost during preparation. For 1-tablespoon of tomato paste you will get about 4.6 milligrams of lycopene. The daily recommend consumption is 4 to 8 milligrams. Therefore more tomatoes and tomato paste you can consume, the better it will be for your health. I cannot help myself but to remind you that too much tomato paste in your food is not tasteful either. Use it wisely.
When using tomato paste in a sauce it is best to dilute it in water to avoid any lumps. There are many recipes in Caribbean cuisine that instruct us to fry the tomato paste in oil and add veggies. When doing so, I would recommend to let the tomato fry for about 3 – 5 minutes, while stirring. This way, any and all water would have evaporated and you will be left with pure tomato or concentrated tomato.
Lastly, don’t forget that tomato based foods are low-calories and also always read the nutritional facts on all items or ingredients you are purchasing.