Tomatoes are well used and loved throughout the world. They contain powerful phytonutrients that have made some refer to it as the wonder fruit! Keep reading to learn more about how canned tomatoes can boost health.
There’s a hype around canned tomatoes, and for good reason! Tomatoes are a “wonder fruit” that are filled with chronic disease fighting phytochemicals. It is no wonder why they have been a staple in many culture’s cuisines. Of course, canned tomatoes contain important nutrients like fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, but the phytochemicals are the real starts of the show!
Canned tomatoes boost health because they contain nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. However, there are additional compounds within fruits and vegetables that are called phytochemicals, which are non-nutritive compounds that have powerful antioxidant effects on the body. The two classes of phytochemicals found in tomatoes are carotenoids and polyphenols. The carotenoids include lycopene, phytoene, and beta carotene, and the polyphenols include flavonoids, flavanones, and flavones . The great thing about these phytochemicals is that their bioavailability can be increased with ripening or with cooking. One of the phytochemicals that has powerful health properties is lycopene. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that has shown to be helpful in the protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other disease and conditions related to aging . It also gives tomatoes their beautiful red color!
So how exactly does lycopene boost health? Diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease are caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced oxidative stress, which can damage the proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids within the body. Lycopene is a particularly potent antioxidant that can trap ROS and reduce the damage caused by it. In an uncooked tomato, the lycopene exists in a microcrystalline form that makes it difficult to be absorbed by the body . When we heat, or cook the tomatoes, the cell walls rupture and release the lycopene. Therefore, using canned tomatoes is a great way to boost the lycopene in your diet because they are already cooked!
Learn more about the benefits of lycopene with these resources:
Lycopene and Canned Tomatoes May Help with Cancer Prevention
Health Connection Between Tomatoes and Lycopene
What is Lycopene?
- Chaudhary, P., Sharma, A., Singh, B., & Nagpal, A. K. (2018). Bioactivities of phytochemicals present in tomato. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 55(8), 2833–2849. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-018-3221-z
Have you ever wondered why canned tomatoes are so popular? Not only are they delicious, but it’s also a great way to reduce your risk of cancer. From affordability to versatility, learn more about why tomatoes are the #1 canned food in America!
Did you know that tomatoes are the most frequently consumed canned vegetable, and fourth most frequently consumed fresh vegetable in the USA?  There are many reasons why canned tomatoes are so popular, as they are affordable, delicious, shelf stable, and extremely versatile! Additionally, they pack a powerful nutrition punch when compared to than their fresh counterparts, as studies have shown that canned tomatoes can reduce the risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
There is emerging research showing the connection between tomato consumption and reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases and prostate cancer . Prostate cancer is the most newly frequently diagnosed cancer and is the leading cause of cancer death in men. According to the American Cancer Society, there are nearly 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S. each year, resulting in more than 34,000 deaths . A body of evidence supporting the benefits of tomatoes for reducing the risk of prostate cancer has mounted over the past several years, and research shows the promise of tomato consumption on prostate cancer protection.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the USA, with over 70 million Americans having some form of it . While more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms in which a healthy diet delays the onset of CVD and prostate cancer, there is promising evidence supporting a diet rich in antioxidants (specifically from canned tomatoes) . This could be due to the bioactive compounds found in tomatoes, as they activate the health benefits associated with these products, and result in an advantageous outcome on platelet aggregation. Recent research shows that tomato products play an important role in preventing platelet aggregation (i.e. reducing the amount of blood clots that can lead to cardiovascular diseases).
Making healthy meals doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. That’s why canned tomatoes are the #1 canned food in America, as you can use them to get dinner on the table in no time…all while boosting your health and saving money! No matter what type of cuisine you enjoy, you can incorporate canned tomatoes into almost any dish for added flavor and health.
1.Canene-Adams, K., Campbell, J. K., Zaripheh, S., Jeffery, E. H., & Erdman, J. W. (2005). The Tomato as a functional food. The Journal of Nutrition, 135(5), 1226–1230. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/135.5.1226
Want to boost your nutrient intake while enjoying a delicious bowl of pasta? Well, you’re in luck! An increasing amount of research has shown that the consumption of canned tomatoes is the perfect opportunity to eat a scrumptious meal while incorporating the daily recommended vitamins and minerals to fuel your body. Read on to find out more about the health-promoting effects of tomatoes, a vibrant red fruit that is loved by many.
Eating well-balanced, plant-powered meals everyday can be challenging, especially if you are constantly on the go. If you are looking for ways to cook easy, nutrient-packed meals for you and your family to enjoy, yet might be lacking the time and energy to do so, we have the inside scoop for you—invest in canned tomato products! By doing so, you will be able to whip up home-made, tomato-based recipes in under 30 minutes, and who doesn’t want that?
The increase in tomato products around the world isn’t just a coincidence. In fact, the incorporation of canned tomato products in various recipes is an affordable, accessible, and sustainable option, which is why everyone is raving about canned tomatoes. Not only is there a massive amount of tomato production each year, but canned tomatoes also offer a great source of nutrients for the human body. This research study focuses on the bioactive compounds and health-promoting effects of tomatoes that make them incredibly effective and enhance quality of life. One of the many important components found in tomatoes includes lycopene, which has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Research studies provide sufficient evidence to suggest that tomatoes are powerful fruits, offering a ton of vitamins and minerals for our body’s to function properly. In fact, these nutrient-packed fruits have the power to prevent chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as obesity, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
When comprehending all this information about the benefits of canned tomatoes, it’s safe to say that canned tomatoes should be a staple in your pantry. Not only do they have the power to improve your long-term health, but they are incredibly versatile and easy to incorporate into numerous dishes!
Meet Toby Amidor, who is the Tomato Wellness Registered Dietitian of the month for February 2021! You probably already know her as she’s EVERYWHERE! With over 20 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry, Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND is a Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author, spokesperson, speaker, leading dietitian, and recipe developer who believes that healthy and wholesome can also be appetizing and delicious. We have known and worked with her for many years, and she actually was on the very first RD Tomato Tour we helped to coordinate with our friends at Pacific Coast Producers. Having experienced the tomato harvest for herself, and being such a credible and widely respected expert on health, food safety and nutrition, we often turn to her to help explain the benefits of tomato products and to bust any negative myths about canned foods. Enjoy below some of her words on canned tomatoes, and a few of her delicious recipes featuring canned tomatoes!
Toby Amidor – As a registered dietitian, part of my role is to debunk nutrition myths and provide a science-based reason why they are myths. As I am a huge fan of canned tomatoes, one of my biggest pet peeves is when folks and media outlets trash canned foods without really knowing all the facts. Please stop trashing canned foods, especially canned tomatoes, and understand the agricultural facts and science. Click here for four common myths about canned foods debunked, plus a ton of ways to use canned tomatoes in your dishes.
Many believe that the foods being canned are rejected foods but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Fruits and vegetables, including canned tomatoes, are specifically bred to be canned for their stronger flavor and for their firmness so they can hold up to being harvested by machines (this doesn’t mean GMOs are used). Over the last 40 to 50 years, scientists have gotten very good at breeding tomatoes to get the perfect blend of flavor and structure. The tomatoes used for canned tomato products are machine picked, not handpicked so they need to be sturdy. After the tomatoes are handpicked, they are cooked to preserve them. No additional additives or preservatives are needed. .
Of course, fresh is certainly a healthy option too. There is a time and place to use both fresh and canned in a healthy eating plan. If the fruit or vegetable is in season, enjoy it as a snack or in a sandwich. However, if you’re cooking or the fruit or vegetable isn’t in season, turn to canned (like canned tomatoes) for the best and most consistent flavor.
Health Benefits of Canned Tomatoes
Tomatoes and tomato products contain a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. They’re also loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lycopene. Tomatoes are actually cooked during the canning process, and lycopene has actually been found to be more absorbable by the body in its cooked form. Therefore, canned tomatoes actually have more of the cancer-fighting lycopene than the raw variety.
In The Kitchen
Canned tomatoes are a permanent staple in my pantry. You can find them in many different forms, such as whole peeled, diced, stewed, crushed in puree, tomato paste and tomato puree. Here are some of my favorite ways to use canned tomatoes:
- Crushed tomatoes are a great base for a creamy tomato soup.
- Diced tomatoes are a nice addition to chili and curry.
- Whole crushed or stewed tomatoes can be used to make a homemade pasta sauce.
- Add tomato paste and/or diced tomatoes to homemade soups.
- Use fire-roasted crushed tomatoes to make a salsa for chicken and fish.
For more recipes featuring canned tomato products, check out some of Toby’s favorites:
Easy Eggplant Parmesan
Warming Tomato Soup with Peas and Carrots
Chicken Parm Casserole
The secret to good cooking and healthy eating? All it takes is having the right tool for the job. Putting the right ingredients to work makes your job easy, so make canned tomatoes great again with these tips and tricks.
Canned tomatoes may sound like old news, but their savory umami and versatility in the kitchen make them indispensable in your pantry. Sure, plant-powered eating often thrives on a DIY attitude and recipe hacks. Canning your own tomatoes is fabulous, but many of us lack access to fresh tomatoes during in-season or are otherwise unable to embark on such a project. Canned tomatoes are one of those convenience products that save you time, yet don’t compromise your values of healthful food or environmentalism.
Canned tomatoes in all of their forms – diced, crushed, stewed, sauce, paste – are canned during in-season and within hours of their harvest. This minimal processing makes the canned version far more sustainable than eating off-season fresh tomatoes shipped or flown from hundreds of miles away.
Not to mention the expense! You can find canned tomato products at inexpensive prices year-round, whereas the fluctuating prices of fresh tomatoes can be an obstacle to a tight food budget.
Each serving of these products adds to your daily vegetable tally. Look for those with minimal added salt and sugar to maximize their nutrition. Tomatoes in all of their forms feature vitamins C and A, and other plant compounds, like lycopene which has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Read on to learn how to make canned tomatoes new again.
Check out these 6 tips for a fresh take on canned tomatoes:
1. Go artisan. Always having a can or two of tomato paste on-hand enables you to get creative and make your very own artisan sauces. How about a curry-inspired ketchup or sriracha-style sauce for your veggie burger? Or a fancy ketchup that incorporates horseradish or balsamic vinegar for your veggie kabobs on the grill. Try something new with canned diced tomatoes in this savory grain porridge of Tomato Basil Steel Cut Oats.
2. Impress your last-minute guests. Toss a can of diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and fresh or dried Italian herbs with a little olive oil, and all you have to do is run out for a fresh baguette. You suddenly have a fancy bruschetta appetizer! Even better, opt for a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Those grill marks will really have your friends thinking you spent all afternoon poring over the grill!
3. Spice up your routine. Have you noticed all the varieties of canned tomatoes available now? A can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes or with added green chilies become the perfect accessory to tacos, nachos, or this Tortilla Soup. A can of crushed tomatoes with minced garlic, bell pepper, and oregano is the best base for marinara sauce smothered over your lasagna or pizza.
4. Too hot to cook? We all need more meal ideas for the hot summer days that come anytime during spring through fall. Enjoy a no-cook recipe that you can make whether fresh tomatoes are in-season or not. Cold tomato soup, or gazpacho, can be as simple as a bruschetta recipe but with an additional splash of flavorful vinegar. You can keep it simple or add toppings like diced bell pepper and cucumber, croutons, chickpeas, fresh sliced avocado, or fresh herbs. Make this Easy Gazpacho and serve in shot glasses for a fun appetizer.
5. Easy as (pizza) pie. With minced garlic and olive oil, simmer a can of crushed tomatoes in thick puree, or crushed tomatoes with basil and oregano, and you will have stellar marinara sauce in no time. With a sauce this easy, you can jump on that homemade pizza trend and focus your attention on the toppings and inventive crusts made from cauliflower or polenta.
6. Up your roasting game. Thin out canned tomato paste with just a little water, then use to coat your roasting vegetables before popping into the oven. Naturally occurring sugars and umami flavors in the tomato are a great way to season your food without adding oil or salt, give it a try!
Images by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian