Tomatoes are a superfood that contain several vitamins and nutrients that promote health. Here are 5 key nutrients present in canned tomatoes that pack a powerful nutrition punch.
When you think of the word superfood what comes to mind? Is it a tomato? Tomatoes are such a commonly eaten food filled with so much nutritional power, yet you may not think of them as a superfood. Not only are tomatoes packed with flavor, but they are also filled with important nutrients that are vital for overall health. Let’s unpack what science has to say about some of these key nutrients.
Lycopene. Lycopene belongs to a class of compounds called carotenoids, and are powerful antioxidants that promote skin health, protect against certain cancers, and decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, but heat during the cooking process makes the lycopene even more bioavailable to our bodies, which makes canned and cooked tomato products an excellent choice.
Beta-carotene. This is a phytochemical that is converted to retinol in the body which then becomes vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for supporting eye health and protects against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Vitamin K. This is a fat soluble vitamin that is important for protein production. These proteins are necessary for the formation of blood clots, and the prevention of bone loss. Vitamin K has also been shown to protect against heart disease.
Fiber. This nutrient has so many benefits, yet many people don’t get enough in their diets. Most know that fiber can promote bowel health and encourage regular bowel movements. However, it also can lower cholesterol levels, control blood glucose levels, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Tomato products should be a staple in every kitchen pantry. Not only are they quick and convenient, they contain many nutrients that promote health! The heating process that all tomatoes go through for preparation actually helps break down the cell walls and make the nutrients easier to absorb. For example, when cooked tomatoes deliver 2-3X more lycopene than a raw tomato! So, what are you waiting for? The next time you’re at the store go ahead and grab a can (or three) of some canned tomato products to use in the kitchen this week.
Need some recipe inspiration? Try out some of our favorites:
Get the scoop on TPWC member, Pacific Coast Producers. We are proud to have this family-run company as part of the tomato community!
Pacific Coast Producers started in 1971 with their first location in Lodi, California. Since then they have expanded their company, and offerings, with locations across the entire Pacific Coast. They were founded by farmers as an agricultural cooperative. Their passion for growing quality crops allows them to work with other farmers that share the same values. Pacific Coast Producers have made it their mission to meet the brand requirements of their customers, while providing world class service at a competitive price.
Pacific Coast Producers make a variety of canned fruit products, along with an entire line of tomato goods. Their tomatoes are offered as whole, diced, crushed, or pureed, as well as pizza sauce, marinara, salsa, enchilada sauce. Along with several products to choose from, they also have organic products, ensuring that every customer has what they need to be successful in their own business.
The majority of tomato growers are in the Woodlake and Los Banos areas of California and 95% of their tomatoes are grown within a 17 mile radius of the Woodlake processing plant. This close proximity allows them to make quality tomato products at peak freshness. It can take less than 24 hours to take a tomato from a vine in the field to a finished product ready for use.
At Tomato Wellness, we help with their annual Registered Dietitian Tour every year, but because of the lockdown, you can now get to experience the tour virtual: The Heart of California Tour 2020
Here are just a few recipes highlighting their quality products.
Most kids don’t even get close to their daily fiber needs, and this recipe offers 5 grams of fiber per serving. It’s also packed with whole grain goodness and phytonutrients, plant-based compounds that offer immune protection and health benefits. If you have any left-over mushroom meat sauce, serve it over whole-grain pasta with a side salad for tomorrow’s dinner.
Prep Time25 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
8 onces 99% lean ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 ¼ cups pizza sauce
Dash black pepper
8 whole-wheat English muffins (16 halves)
1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar and sauté for 2 minutes.
3. Add ground turkey. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink, about 7 minutes, using a spatula to break apart. Stir in Italian seasoning.
4. Add pizza sauce and black pepper, and mix over low heat for 3 minutes.
5. Preheat often to 400°F.
6. Separate whole English muffins into 16 halves, place on a baking sheet, and toast for 2 minutes.
7. Top each muffin half with about 3 tablespoons of the pizza sauce mixture and 1 tablespoon shredded cheese.
8. Place in the oven, and cook for 5 minutes, until cheese melts.
2 English muffin pizza halves each Amount Per Serving:Calories: 259Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 435mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 16g
Recipe by Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE, author of the Super Crew kids’ book series, and founder of SuperKidsNutrition.com, the first kids’ nutrition mega website created in 2006.
I’ve always believed that classic, comforting soups can be the foundation of a healthy, delicious meal! Based on canned vegetables, canned tomato soup, dried pasta, and dried herbs, this budget- and kid-friendly minestrone soup recipe can be made from pantry staples in 25 minutes. Serve it with a side salad or grilled sandwich to make it a meal.
Prep Time25 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
3 cups water
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75-ounce each) cans tomato soup, condensed
1 (14.5-ounce) can cut green beans, with liquid
1 (14.5-ounce) can sweet corn, with liquid
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, with liquid
1 cup whole grain elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or may substitute with dried oregano)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat water in a large pot.
2. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add tomato soup, green beans with liquid, corn with liquid, white beans with liquid, macaroni, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender.
5. Serve immediately.
Top the salad with tortilla chips for extra crunch.
Romesco sauce is a traditional Spanish sauce that features roasted red peppers and tomato paste. Our version is weeknight-friendly and doesn’t require a blender or food processor. Mediterranean staples like eggplant, chickpeas, and bulgur round out this plant-based grain bowl.
Prep Time50 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, reserving liquid
1 large eggplant, chopped into bite-size pieces
½ cup whole grain cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup bulgur, uncooked
3 cups water
3 roasted red peppers, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (6-ounce) tomato paste
2 tablespoons almond meal
1/3 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Place eggplant in a bowl with chickpea liquid, stirring to coat eggplant. Mix in cornmeal until coated.
3. Transfer the breaded eggplant to a large baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Mix chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, and paprika in a mixing bowl. Transfer the chickpeas to the baking sheet with the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
5. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the chickpeas and eggplant so that they brown evenly, then bake for another 15 minutes.
6. Combine the bulgur and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove from heat but keep the lid on.
7. To make the Romesco sauce, add roasted pepper, olive oil, paprika, tomato paste, almond meal, and water to a small pot, and cook on low heat, whisking until well combined. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until warm.
8. To serve, divide the bulgur, eggplant, chickpeas and Romesco sauce into four bowls as follows: 1 cup bulgur, ¾ cup eggplant, ¼ cup chickpeas, and ¼ cup Romesco sauce. Serve warm.
You can roast bell peppers, or buy them prepared in a jar.
Recipe by Kelly LeBlanc, MLA, RD, LDN, the director of nutrition at Oldways, a nonproﬁt organization helping people rediscover the healthy, sustainable joys of the “old ways” of shared cultural traditions.