The tomato is often described as a “functional food,” implying that it delivers more than just the basic nutrients. Grown in every corner of the world, there are hundreds of tomato varieties available, 25,000 according to U.S. Department of Agriculture. They vary from each other on the basis of appearance, flavor and texture. Despite how the tomato is grown, organically or conventionally, there is little difference in the overall nutritional value. However, different varieties do have different antioxidant capacities.
Cooking tomatoes actually enhances their nutritional value. According to one 2002 study tomatoes cooked for thirty minutes increased the lycopene content by 35%. This is because heating breaks down the thick cell walls and releases the nutrients bound to them. Since tomatoes hold such an abundant supply of nutrients, it is not important whether you drink raw tomato juice or use a cook tomato juice recipe, as long as you do drink it.
Satisfying Tomato Juice
- 5 tomatoes
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- Salt & black pepper to taste
Thoroughly wash and cut all vegetables into pieces that your juicer can accommodate with ease. After juicing add the salt and pepper, and chill before serving.
- Juice of one lemon
- Mint leaves
One medium sized tomato delivers approximately 22 calories, one gram of fiber, one gram of protein, almost no fat or cholesterol, and five grams of carbohydrates. They contain a large variety of vitamins which include vitamin A, C, E, K and B6 in addition to thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. Tomatoes are not in any way lacking in minerals either. They contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc.
Health Benefits of Tomato
The antioxidants in tomatoes are beneficial for a wide range of ailments. The alpha-lipoic acid aids in converting glucose to energy and some evidence indicates that it can help control blood glucose levels. This in turn protects retinopathy in diabetic patients and perhaps even wards off nerve tissue and brain damage. The choline aids in reducing chronic inflammation which is linked to many chronic diseases like osteoporosis, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The excessive amount of lycopene found in tomatoes is an exceptional scavenger of cancer causing free radicals. The Beta-carotene along with lycopene protects the skin from sun’s UV light that leads to premature wrinkles.