In this blog post, we will discuss whether tomato sauce is healthy, how we should consume it to enjoy the health benefits that tomatoes provide. We will finish with a simple recipe for a healthy tomato sauce.
Is tomato sauce healthy?
Tomato sauce is a healthy type of sauce, especially if you make it a home, taking advantage of it to incorporate other healthy ingredients. Tomato is a very common vegetable that hides some surprising health properties. The same goes for the tomato sauce that we can consume every day.
Some studies have shown its ability to prevent some types of cancer thanks to its lycopene content. Find out in this article why you should consume homemade tomato sauce every day to prevent and improve many health problems.
What is lycopene in tomatoes and why does it matter?
Lycopene is the pigment present in reddish vegetables and fruits (also purple and orange). Among the foods from which we can obtain it are:
- Red pepper.
- Pink grapefruit.
This nutrient is a carotenoid that our body cannot synthesize and that we can only find in foods of plant origin. Therefore, the only way to obtain it is by consuming the vegetables that contain it.
Once our body ingests it, after half an hour it is absorbed in the intestine and deposited in the liver, testicles, prostate, and adrenal glands. Lycopene has high antioxidant power, a function that helps us fight the damage caused by free radicals and that cause cellular aging.
Tomato or tomato sauce?
Tomato is one of the foods richest in lycopene. However, what is more, interesting is that we can find a very high concentration of lycopene in other types of tomato-based foods.
The proportion of lycopene per 100 g:
- Raw tomato: 2,573 μg.
- Ketchup: 17,716 μg.
- Tomato sauce: 28,764 μg.
- Dried tomato: 45,900 μg.
Health benefits of tomatoes
Cancer prevention – As we indicated at the beginning, there are studies that show that the lycopene present in tomatoes could significantly help prevent some types of cancer, specifically prostate, lung, and stomach.
They also demonstrated positive results in cases of cancer of the pancreas, colon, and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, and breast.
Cardiovascular system – The daily consumption of tomato, in addition, provides many other health benefits, including great support for our cardiovascular system, thanks to its ability to improve the activity of cells and the use of fats for combustion.
In this way, we can reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood.
Blood pressure – Lycopenes have the virtue of controlling blood pressure without altering it in a harmful way since they help to thin the blood. They are, therefore, very suitable for hypertensive people.
Diabetes- In the case of people with diabetes, the regular consumption of tomatoes and other red vegetables improves the use of glucose in our body. It also favors the function of insulin and prevents some symptoms resulting from diabetes, such as:
- Diabetic foot.
- Intermittent claudication.
The best way to consume tomatoes
As we have discussed, tomato concentrates are the best way to obtain a large number of lycopene. However, this antioxidant is not always absorbed in the same way but depends on what food contains it and what other nutrients accompany it.
Its absorption improves significantly if we eat it together with good quality fats and at a hot temperature. For this reason, the most effective and healthy way to benefit from these properties is with a homemade tomato sauce, made with extra virgin olive oil and a little hot.
We can still turn it into a healthier sauce if we add a touch of black pepper and turmeric. Thus we will also have an excellent remedy for all types of inflammation and pain.
A recipe for healthy tomato sauce
You will need:
- 10 organic ripe tomatoes.
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil (100 g).
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (4 g).
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper powder (4 g).
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt (12 g).
- ½ tablespoon of brown sugar (7 g).
First, we will chop the garlic and fry it for a minute.
Next, we will grate or beat the tomatoes and add the spices and seasonings.
We will incorporate the garlic and the tomato and spice mixture in the same pot and cook for about 15 minutes.
To take better advantage of its benefits, we will consume this hot sauce.
Tomato sauce is a healthy sauce, but it is acidic enough to cause heartburn in some people. If you like the acidity in tomatoes, go for round tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, the latter being both sour and sweet. On the contrary, if you are running away from the acidic flavor, choose heart tomatoes instead.
When cooking, a pinch of sugar will soften the acidity of the tomatoes.
Do you dare to prepare this healthy tomato sauce? As you have seen, it has many beneficial properties for health and you can consume it daily. Should we start to introduce this product more into our diet?
Palozza, P., Simone, R. E., Catalano, A., & Mele, M. C. (2011). Tomato lycopene and lung cancer prevention: from experimental to human studies. Cancers, 3(2), 2333–2357.
Story, E. N., Kopec, R. E., Schwartz, S. J., & Harris, G. K. (2010). An update on the health effects of tomato lycopene. Annual review of food science and technology, 1, 189–210.