Tomatoes, fruits or vegetables? Even though they are technically fruits, you most often find preparation methods to resemble that of a vegetable. One thing that is similar, however, is the fact that is can be made into a juice regardless of what you classify it as. Tomato juice is extremely nutritious, and is considered even better than the fruit, since certain compounds are believed to become activated in its liquid form.
What Are Tomatoes?
Known binomially as Solanum lycopersicum or lycopersicum esculentum, tomatoes vary widely in their overall size; ranging from as small as a cherry, to bigger than a potato, depending on the climate and soil conditions where they are grown. Their color is fairly standard, merely existing as a few different shades of the color red.
Tomatoes are believed to be native to the Americas, as there was evidence of them found in ancient Aztec civilizations in Mexico. Despite this fact, however, tomatoes were considered to be poisonous up to about 2 centuries ago since they belong to the nightshade family of plants.
Luckily, we know better know and stand to benefit handsomely from eating (or drinking) more of it.
To make tomato juice, the first step is to cut the fruit into slices or quarters, and place into a pot. Smash the tomatoes to extract as much liquid as you can. Depending on the overall water content, this can form the base of your juice, or you can add in a cup or two of water if needed.
Bring the mashed tomato/water mixture to a boil, simmering and stirring constantly for about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool, add optional seasonings if necessary then strain solid out of the mix. The liquid you extract is your tomato juice. Chill and enjoy.
Tomatoes Nutrition (sliced, per cup 180g)
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber- 2.2g 9% RDI
Protein- 1.6g 3% RDI
Vitamin A-1499IU 30% RDI
Vitamin C-23mg 38% RDI
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)-1mg 5% RDI
Vitamin K-14.2mcg 18% RDI
Folate-27mcg 7% RDI
Potassium-427mg 12% RDI
Manganese-0.2mg 10% RDI
11 Amazing Benefits of Tomato Juice
1. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Consumption of tomato juice has significant benefits on the health of your heart, thanks in major part to its carotenoid content. Lycopene also falls into this category of compounds and can help reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
2. Helps With Cancer Prevention
Tomato juice retains all of the tomatoes cancer preventing compounds but makes it convenient to get them. Lycopene stars once again in this regard as its powerful antioxidant potential reduces the likelihood of cancerous changes occurring.
3. Supports Weight Loss
Tomato juice is highly nutritious and is surprisingly very filling when consumed. In contrast to most types of juices that are relatively watery, the consistency of tomato juice can be very thick as well. Consuming it in this way will also likely help retain the majority of fiber it contains, making it even more satisfying.
Many people when attempting to lose weight sometimes replace an entire meal with tomato juice, and it works great because it stimulates the production of leptin, a key hormone that that’s your body now when you’ve had enough to eat. In turn, this means that you are less likely to snack in between meals and end up consuming a smaller number of calories on a day-to-day basis.
4. Supports Bone Health
Do you often associate tomato juice with healthier bones? Most people do not, but are surprised to find out that tomato is are actually decent sources of important vitamins and minerals that regulate the health of your bones. For instance, it is an excellent source of vitamin K, and contains a modest amount of calcium and magnesium. Together, these nutrients help improve the structural integrity of bone matrix and encourages a healthy bone mass density.
Consumption of these nutrients becomes even more important as you age to help reduce the risk of experiencing life-threatening fractures or falls.
5. Excellent For Your Skin
One of the most important vitamins when it comes to the health of your skin has to be vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin helps to reduce the impact of free radical damage on the skin, and is involved in the synthesis of collagen, the body’s primary structural protein. Natural production of this protein is reduced in the presence of vitamin C deficiency or as you age, and in turn skin loses its natural elasticity and suppleness.
But that’s not all; the presence of lycopene enhances its antioxidant potential significantly, the extent that it can reduce the frequency of sunburnt skin you experience. This makes tomato juice perfect for you to consume if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun.
6. Reduces Blood Pressure
Even though many people believe that tomatoes have a naturally “salty” flavor, the fact of the matter is that tomatoes are very low in sodium, but contain considerable amounts of other important electrolyte minerals, potassium. This makes it the ideal juice to consume if you have high blood pressure or are experiencing a hypertensive episode as it can provide much-needed blood vessel dilation and enhances excretion of sodium and water in urine.
7. Manages Symptoms Of BPH
BPH, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or better known as an enlarging prostate, affects quite a number of middle-aged men, taking a toll on her confidence and sexual health. Typically caused by an increase in the number of prostate cells under the impact of the androgen DHT, an enlarging prostate is not frequently deadly, but is quite annoying.
Medications exist to reduce the growth by blocking their interaction to the hormone, but these usually come with severe side effects such as sexual dysfunction. The presence of lycopene in tomatoes is able to elicit the same effect but to Miler degree, and is without the pesky side effects. Lycopene in tomato juice also reduces the likelihood of these benign cells undergoing carcinogenic changes into full-blown prostate cancer.
8. Supports Healthy Vision
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and associated carotenoids, compounds which not only help enhance visual acuity, but can also reduce damage caused to the macula of the eyes. Macular degeneration frequently occurs as we grow older, but by reducing the impact of oxidative free radicals on structures within the eye, you can preserve your vision well into old age.
9. Supports Brain Function
The brain, like many other organs is subjected to the ravages of free radical damage and inflammation. Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in particular are strongly associated with inflammatory changes in the brain that cause progressive loss of cognitive and motor skills. Tomato juice can help reduce the speed at which these changes occur, even though it may not be able to prevent them out right. In addition to this, the natural folate found in tomatoes help to break the homocysteine, a highly pro-inflammatory amino acid metabolite that is in high levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
10. Strengthens The Immune System
The high density of beneficial antioxidant vitamins found in tomato juice offers exactly what the immune system needs to perform at a high level. The juice can help support the synthesis of white blood cells, important mediators of immunity, while the vitamins buffer free radicals. Not to mention the fact that the soluble fiber found in tomato juice acts as nourishment for the probiotic bacteria residing in your intestines and what you have is excellent all around immune support.
11. Supports Detoxification
Tomato juice support the function of the liver and kidneys in their job to get rid of toxins and waste materials produced by the body. For instance, the potassium content of the juice encourages diuresis, while specific phytochemicals breakdown possible carcinogens into weaker toxins. Combine that with the ability of the juice to reset liver enzyme levels and its health can be maintained for a long time.
Tomato juice is absolutely bursting with nutrition and potential benefits for your health, so by now it is natural that you want to get some right? One word of warning – it may be in your best interest to not add salt to your tomato juice, or the high sodium load can cause it to lose many potential benefits.