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Well of course tomatoes are extremely good for you but canned tomatoes? That is a different story.
A few words about fresh tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes have a great flavor and, when you add in their cancer-fighting properties and numerous other health benefits, it is no wonder that they are the second most popular veggie in the USA.
- Tomatoes and tomato products are excellent sources of potassium, Vitamin C and folate. A cup of chopped tomatoes has only 38 calories but more than 50% of the RDA (or recommended daily allowance) for Vitamin C plus two grams of fiber.
- Even more important is that tomatoes contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene (one of those phytochemicals - plant chemicals - with cancer fighting properties), protecting against prostate cancer and thought to decrease heart disease risk too.
Unlike the situation where vegetables and fruit served raw have more health benefits than cooked, Lycopene is unique because it is best absorbed from cooked or processed tomatoes. And that includes canned tomatoes.
So back to the question about canned tomatoes and being good for you?
We want to think so because there are so many uses for canned tomatoes in cooking and they provide a great standby in the pantry. Cooked tomatoes (such as in tomato sauce or tomato paste) not only increases the lycopene content that can be absorbed by your body, but also increases the total antioxidant activity.
But the can of tomatoes has been declared as one the “7 foods even safety experts won’t eat
”. This is because the resin linings of cans contain BPA (or Bisphenol-A) a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to undesirable conditions ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Because of the acidity in tomatoes, the level of leaching can be even higher in canned tomatoes than other canned food. Studies have shown than the BPA levels in the majority of people now exceeds the amount that (a) can suppress sperm production and (b) cause chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals.
So what can you do to avoid these cans?
- Buy your tomatoes in glass bottles or jars such as Bionaturae and Coluccio while Eden Foods supply 14 and 25 ounce jars of organic crushed tomatoes and sauces in their range.
- Check out Trader Joe’s and Pomi who provide tomatoes in Tretra Pak boxes as an alternative to cans.
- Choose organic varieties, whether whole tomatoes or tomato paste, ketchup or sauce. Organic ketchup has been found to contain 57% more lycopene than conventional national brands. Of course you need to make sure they are in glass jars.
One final suggestion is to consume your tomatoes, whether raw or cooked, with some type of fat such as olive oil, grass fed butter or coconut oil. This is because lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient.
- Preserve your own tomatoes if you have a vegetable garden with a good supply or look out for those preserved especially for farmers' markets and specialist stores.