Your crazy aunt – the one who drinks litres of tomato juice every week – may be a whole lot smarter than you thought… Why? Tomatoes are among the most nutritious fruits on the planet. Unlike some other “superfoods” that you have to hunt down at tiny, pricy, health food stores, tomatoes are usually in abundance at your local greengrocer. Drinking tomato juice is profoundly good for you and, in the old days, it was considered medicinal. Here’s why.
1. Tomatoes – and by extension tomato juice – are rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant that actively and directly fights cancer. In particular, it fights off colon cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer – and others. Plus, lycopene protects you against heart disease.
2. Tomatoes are high in fibre, meaning that they stimulate regular, healthy bowel movements. In addition, they make you feel fuller for longer so they’ll help prevent snack attacks that could otherwise ruin your healthy diet and good nutrition practices.
3. Tomato juice is rich in vitamins, namely vitamins A, K, B1, B3, B5, B6 and B7, as well as vitamin C. This means they’re an excellent food source for maintaining good health.
4. Tomatoes are rich in essential nutrients, including iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium and choline, zinc and phosphorous. Your body relies on these nutrients to function well. All those nutrients, in one fruit!
5. Tomatoes contain a wide range of powerful phytonutrients. While these aren’t essential to your body’s functioning, they certainly give you a formidable health boost. They help your body fight off disease, prevent stress damage and slow ageing.
The best way to get the most out of your tomatoes
Raw tomatoes are healthy for you but cooked tomatoes are even healthier! Scientists have noted that the lycopene in tomatoes (you know, the cancer-fighting chemical) is more bioavailable when the tomatoes have been cooked gently. This means the lycopene is more easily absorbed by your body during digestion and, in turn, you absorb more of it.
Watch out for the sodium!
Before you run out to buy a few kilos of tomatoes, consider this one caveat: tomatoes are naturally high in sodium. Your body needs a certain amount of sodium to help keep nerves functioning optimally and to regulate your blood pressure. However, too much sodium is dangerous since it could elevate your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. So if you’re making your own tomato juice, make sure you reduce your sodium intake elsewhere in your diet. If you buy tomato juice, look for a brand that offers you a reduced sodium option.
If nourishment means more to you than just a meal, and you want to help others find their best selves through nutrition, consider a career as a nutritionist. Trifocus Fitness Academy offers you a Specialised Nutrition Certification that will give you all the tools you need! Follow this link to learn more.