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 C. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant that can prevent oxidative stress. Additionally, it increases non-heme iron absorption from plant sources, while also preventing the iron inhibiting effects of calcium.
- 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.
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