Besides being a vital ingredient in a Bloody Mary cocktail, tomato juice is a pretty impressive health drink. Tomato juice is loaded with nutrients and a serving of this tasty beverage contributes towards your daily recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Tomatoes are considered to be a “functional food.” A functional food is more than just a source of calories, vitamins and minerals, these foods which include oatmeal, tomatoes and orange juice fortified with calcium, have a positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition, and are able to prevent or address disease conditions.
The humble tomato has come a long way in the last couple of centuries. Just 200 years ago it was considered to be poisonous. Thank goodness that we know better now! Our cuisine and our health would be a lot poorer without these delicious red (and orange, purple and yellow) globes.
Tomatoes gained their “poisonous” reputation because they are members of the nightshade family. While some plants in that family are truly poisonous, others like the potato, peppers, eggplant and the tomato are clearly just fine.
- 1 Is All Tomato Juice Good To Drink?
- 1.1 Tomatoes Are Good For Your Heart
- 1.2 Tomatoes Protect Your Eyes
- 1.3 Tomatoes May Help With Depression
- 1.4 Tomatoes May Help To Prevent Some Types Cancer
- 1.5 Tomatoes Help To Keep Bones Strong
- 1.6 Tomatoes Keep Your Blood Pressure Stable
- 1.7 Tomatoes Help To prevent Constipation
- 1.8 Tomatoes Are Good For Your Skin
- 1.9 Tomatoes Can Protect Against Kidney Stones
- 1.10 Tomatoes Can Help You To Lose Weight.
- 1.11 Tomatoes Are A Great Source Of vitamins And Minerals
- 1.12 Tomatoes Provide Folate Which Helps To Ensure A Healthy Pregnancy
- 1.13 Tomatoes Provide Fiber To Protect Against Diabetes
- 1.14 Tomatoes Reduce The Risk Of Blood Clots
- 1.15 Try These Refreshing Tomato Juice Recipes
Is All Tomato Juice Good To Drink?
No, not at all. In fact many commercial tomato juices are packed full of salt. A typical eight ounce glass of tomato juice can contain 670 mg of sodium, which is 28% of a person’s recommended daily allowance. To put that salt in context, it’s about as much salt as you would get from eating four small bags of chips.
Tomato juice is incredibly easy to make for yourself at home. Just throw some tomatoes into a blender and whiz them up. When you drink freshly blended tomato juice, you get all of the health benefits of eating lots of tomatoes, so let’s find out what those benefits are.
Tomatoes Are Good For Your Heart
Tomatoes contain good amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and choline which all support heart health. By increasing the potassium in your diet while reducing sodium (salt) intake, you can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Can you see why the off-the-shelf tomato juice loaded with sodium isn’t the healthiest option?
According to Mark Houston, M.D., M.S., who is an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee, this increase in potassium and decrease in sodium is the most important dietary change that the average person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
That’s a pretty important change!
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines, recommended that individuals should take in 4,700 mg of potassium each day, (except for those who have hyperkalemia due to renal disorders or who are taking certain medications).
But most Americans fall woefully short of that optimal intake. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that less than 2% of US adults met that daily target. The average intake is estimated to be just 1,755mg per day.
A one cup serving of chopped tomatoes provides 427 mg of potassium and just 9mg of sodium. While one cup of tomato juice contains 556 mg of potassium.
You can see how making tomato juice one of your regular beverages can go a long way to increasing your potassium intake.
Potassium has a vital role in controlling the electrical activity of the heart, and the folate in tomatoes helps to keep homocysteine levels in check, which reduces one risk factor for heart disease.
One study found that adults who had a daily intake of 4069 mg of potassium, had a 49 percent lower risk of death from heart disease when compared with those who consumed around 1000 mg per day.
Tomatoes Protect Your Eyes
Tomatoes are a rich source of powerful antioxidants – lycopene, lutein and beta carotene – that have been shown to protect the eyes from damage associated with the development of cataracts and neovascular age related macular degeneration.
The Age Related Eye Disease Study found that people with high dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin had a 35 percent reduction in the risk of neovascular age related macular degeneration.
The lutein and zeaxanthin in the lens of your eye, remove blue light rays that would otherwise damage tissues in your eyes. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, consuming at least 6,000 micrograms daily lowers your risk of age related macular degeneration. A cup of chopped tomatoes provides you with 221 milligrams of the two substances. On dietary information charts the two are listed together.
The lycopene in tomatoes protects your tissues from free radical damage because it can neutralize them before they oxidize and harm your cells. Free radical damage contributes to some eye diseases. Harvard Health Publications recommends that you consume 10 milligrams of lycopene daily and each cup of chopped tomatoes provides you with 4.6 milligrams.
Tomatoes May Help With Depression
Tomatoes contain folate (27 mcg per cup). This folate may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from building up in the body. Too much homocysteine can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain and it also interferes with the production of the hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite.
Tomatoes May Help To Prevent Some Types Cancer
Tomatoes have attracted attention from prostate cancer researchers because lycopene has been found to concentrate in tissues of the prostate gland. A report from the American Institute of Cancer Research found substantial and convincing evidence that foods containing lycopene probably protect against prostate cancer.
The Health Professionals Follow Up Study found that there was a 35% decrease in prostate cancer risk, between those who had the highest lycopene intake and those who consumed the least. A follow up report on the men from this study confirmed the findings, with men who continued to have a high lycopene intake having a 30-40% reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.
Clinical trials have been conducted where lycopene was supplemented for a short period before radical prostatectomy surgery. In one study, 15 men in the intervention group were given 30 mg per day of lycopene. The 11 men in the control group were instructed to follow the National Cancer Institute’s recommendations to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
The results showed that the lycopene slowed the growth of prostate cancer. Among the intervention group, protective lycopene levels in prostate tissue were 47% higher than in the men consuming the healthy diet. Men who took the lycopene for 3 weeks had smaller tumors and cleaner margins.
Each cup of tomato juice provides 4.6 mg of lycopene.
According to the American Cancer Society, some studies have shown that people with diets rich in tomatoes may have a lower risk of cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach.
And research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that higher amounts of carotenoids which include alpha-carotene, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Tomatoes Help To Keep Bones Strong
Lycopene has been found to play an important role in bone health.
In one study researchers removed sources of lycopene from the diets of postmenopausal women for 4 weeks. The results of the study showed that the women had started to show increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue. The researches concluded that insufficient lycopene in the diet put women at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
Tomatoes Keep Your Blood Pressure Stable
While maintaining a low sodium intake is known to be an important factor that helps to keep blood pressure at a healthy level, potassium levels are equally important.
Potassium activates nitric oxide release which helps to keep arteries open and also counters the hypertensive effects of sodium.
Your kidneys play an important role in keeping blood pressure stable by controlling the amount of fluid that is stored in your body. The more fluid that your body holds onto the higher your blood pressure will be.
Your kidneys perform this function by filtering your blood and removing the extra fluid, which is then sent to your bladder as urine. This can only happen efficiently if the delicate balance of sodium and potassium is maintained, which allows the water to move across a wall of cells from the bloodstream and into a channel which leads to the bladder.
Too much sodium and too little potassium disrupt this mechanism.
Tomatoes Help To prevent Constipation
A simple, refreshing glass of tomato juice could be all that you need to keep your bowel movements smooth and regular.
Tomatoes help to prevent constipation thanks to their fiber and magnesium content. Fiber provides bulk to the stool, while magnesium ensures the smooth functioning of the bowel muscles and maintains an optimum water content in the bowel to prevent the stool from drying out and getting stuck.
Magnesium supplements are a trusted remedy for constipation.
One cup of tomatoes provides 2.2 grams of fiber, which is 9% of your recommended daily intake, and 19.8 mg of magnesium which is 5% of a healthy daily intake.
Tomatoes Are Good For Your Skin
The antioxidants in tomatoes fight the free radicals that promote skin damage and premature aging.
As well as being a powerful antioxidant vitamin C is essential for healthy collagen production in your skin.
While collagen boosting skin serums are very popular, it’s important to take in good levels of vitamin C via your foods and drinks because vitamin C is used by your body for so many important processes. Drinking tomato juice will work from the inside to give you great looking skin.
One cup of tomato juice provides 44.5 mg of vitamin C which is 74% of the recommended daily intake.
Tomatoes Can Protect Against Kidney Stones
By providing good amounts of potassium, tomatoes can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Increased potassium intake decreases calcium excretion and prevents the formation of stones.
Two well known long term health studies support this finding. In the Nurses Health Study, women who had the highest daily intake of potassium, 3,458 mg each day, were only 65% as likely to develop symptomatic kidney stones as women who had the lowest potassium intake of 2,703 mg per day.
The other study, the Health Professionals Follow Up Study, found that 45,000 men who had daily intakes of more than 4,000 mg of potassium were half as likely to develop kidney stones as those who had an intake less than 2,895 mg per day.
Tomatoes Can Help You To Lose Weight.
As well as being low in calories and rich in filling fiber and fluid, an extract of tomato has been shown to stimulate the production of the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine has been found to speed up the body’s fat-burning capacity by over 30 percent.
Tomatoes Are A Great Source Of vitamins And Minerals
One cup of chopped tomatoes provides 32 calories and;
- Protein 1.6 g – 3%
- Fiber 2.2 g – 9%
- Fat 0.4 g
- Omega-3 fatty acids 5.4 mg
- Omega-6 fatty acids 144 mg
- Vitamin A 1499 IU – 30%
- Alpha carotene 192 mcg
- Beta carotene 808 mcg
- Lycopene 4632 mcg
- Vitamin C 22.9 mg – 38%
- Vitamin E 1 mg – 5%
- Vitamin K 14.2 mcg – 18%
- Thiamin 0.1 mg – 4%
- Niacin 1.1 mg – 5%
- Vitamin B6 0.1mg – 7%
- Folate 27 mcg – 7%
- Pantothenic acid 0.2 mg – 2%
- Calcium 18 mg – 2%
- Iron 0.5 mg – 3%
- Magnesium 19.8 mg – 5%
- Phosphorus 43.2 mg – 4%
- Potassium 427 mg -12%
- Sodium 9.0 mg
- Zinc 0.3mg – 2%
- Copper 0.1mg – 5%
- Manganese 0.2 mg – 10%
Tomatoes Provide Folate Which Helps To Ensure A Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnant women are advised to make sure that they have good levels of folic acid in their diet or to take a supplement. Folic acid is actually a synthetic form of folate, which is the natural form of this vitamin found in foods. Folic acid is required by federal law to be added to a number of processed foods including cold cereals, flour, breads, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers.
This mandatory fortification was deemed necessary due to the evidence for the protective effect of folic acid supplementation against the development of neural tube defects in newborns.
But while folate is the safe and natural form of this vital protective vitamin. Folic acid has now been linked to health problems.
In the United States, Canada, and Chile, the folic acid food supplementation program has been associated with an increased rate of colon cancer. A randomized placebo controlled trial found that the risk of prostate cancer increased with the daily supplementation of 1 mg of folic acid. Researchers think that this is because the presence of unmetabolized folic acid in the blood could lead to a decrease in natural killer cytotoxicity.
Several studies have found the presence of unmetabolized folic acid in the blood following consumption of folic acid supplements or foods fortified with folic acid.
Tomatoes are a rich source of risk free natural folate to keep your baby safe from neural tube defects.
Other sources of dietary folate include romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils. Animal sources for folate include calf’s liver and chicken liver.
Women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant are advised to consume 600 – 1000 mcg of folate a day. It’s tough to get that much from your diet alone, but you can obtain supplements which are made from natural folate and not folic acid.
Tomatoes Provide Fiber To Protect Against Diabetes
Studies have found that people with type 1 diabetes who consume diets high in fiber have lower blood glucose levels, and people with type 2 diabetes have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels.
Dietary guidelines recommends 21-25 g of fiber per day for women and 30-38 g/day for men. One cup of chopped tomatoes provides 2.2 grams of that fiber.
Tomatoes Reduce The Risk Of Blood Clots
Tomatoes have been shown to prevent the unwanted sticking together (aggregation), of platelet cells in the blood, which lowers risk of stroke associated with atherosclerosis. In a South American Study, tomatoes and green beans came out on top of the 26 vegetables studied for their anti-aggregation properties.
Tomatoes also help to lower total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides and have been shown to decrease the accumulation of cholesterol molecules inside macrophage cells. Macrophage cells are implicated in the development of atherosclerosis. They are a type of white blood which deal with oxidative stress in the bloodstream, and the activity of these macrophages (with their cholesterol load) is a prerequisite for development of atherosclerosis.
Try These Refreshing Tomato Juice Recipes
Classic Tomato Juice
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 cucumber
- 1 handful of fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Handful of ice
- Chop tomatoes into small sized pieces.
- Place tomatoes, celery, cucumber and parsley in juicer.
- Pour juice in shaker.
- Add sea salt, cayenne pepper and ice.
- Shake and strain in a glass.
Tomato Juice And Watermelon Cooler
- ½ small watermelon
- 2 medium tomatoes
- Chop watermelon into small pieces
- Chop tomatoes into small pieces
- Place fruit in juicer, then serve.