We have said many times in the past that eating bright red tomatoes is a shortcut to robust health. That’s because tomatoes are rich in nutrients like folate, vitamin C, potassium, etc. But what truly sets tomatoes is the abundance of antioxidants like carotenoids in them, especially lycopene, known to have several health benefits to offer. Tomato also offers plenty of vitamin A. It is rich in other beneficial components like vitamin E, flavonoids, phytosterols and several other water-soluble vitamins.1
To make the most of the health benefits of tomatoes, they have to be eaten raw or with minimum cooking. If raw tomatoes are not your scene, the next best option is tomato juice. With a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper, tomato juice is delicious, to say the least. But first, let’s see if drinking tomato juice is worth the effort.
1. Stay Cancer Free
The presence of carotenoid lycopene is by far the best selling point of tomato juice. Lycopene is a non-provitamin A carotenoid that is responsible for the red to pink colors seen in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and other foods. Processed tomato products are the primary dietary lycopene source in the United States.2
Known to possess antioxidant, hypolipidemic and anticarcinogenic activities, lycopene is the principal bioactive compound present in tomatoes and their byproducts.3 What does it mean? Antioxidants scavenge on free radicals to prevent cell and tissue damage which, in turn, prevent many diseases like cancer. Apart from lycopene, vitamin C or ascorbic acid in tomatoes plays a part in preventing oxidation.4 Lycopene’s anticarcinogenic activities protect the body from cancer-causing carcinogens.
2. For Better Vision
Having tomato juice daily will benefit your eyes since tomatoes are rich in vitamin A.5 Vitamin A, also known as retinol, maintains the health of the tissues in the retina. Retinol is essential to the formation of visual purple in the retina which allows vision in dim light.6
3. Accelerates Weight Loss
If you are on a weight loss diet, you might want to include tomato juice in your daily diet.7 Lycopene does its magic here again. Lycopene protects the body against metabolic diseases. Having lycopene helps reduce waist circumference, serum cholesterol and inflammatory adipokine levels in the body, all of which can contribute to a much slimmer self.
4. Detoxes Liver
The largest internal organ in our body deserves oodles of TLC since it does one of the crucial jobs in keeping us healthy–purifying blood that gets distributed in the body. Since liver deals with a lot of toxins, it needs some detox, too. Plant foods like tomatoes have been proven to detox liver.8 Tomato juice is widely considered as good for improving liver disturbance.9
5. It Is Heart Healthy
One organ that will benefit immensely from a daily diet of tomatoes is the heart. It is known to have heart protective effects–it lowers LDL or bad cholesterol and increases LDL’s resistance to oxidation10 all of which mean a healthier heart. Lycopene in plasma is found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases manifold.11 Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene.
6. Promotes Gut Health
Tomato juice has a prebiotic-like effect on the gut, increasing gut microbiota that ensures the health of the gut. In a study done on rats, it was found that consuming tomato juice steadily for five weeks countered the effect of a high-fat diet in the stomach. This was possible because tomato juice increased the population of lactobacillus bacteria (good gut bacteria) in the stomach.12 A healthy stomach means a healthy body, isn’t it?
7. Best Beauty Aid
We are not done yet. There is one more excellent reason why you must drink tomato juice frequently. It is perhaps the best beauty aid to come out of your kitchen. Tomatoes are antioxidant-rich which stop cells from getting damaged and aid cell and tissue repair.13 The antioxidants in tomatoes like lycopene, beta-carotene, and even vitamin C ensure that many organs like your skin stay healthy and glowing all the time.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is another excellent reason why you must have faith in tomato juice for your skin and hair health. Vitamin C helps the body make collagen–an important protein for making skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is needed for healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.14 Vitamin C deficiency usually manifests as rough, dry, scaly skin.
Beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A found in vegetables, has antioxidant properties, meaning it protects cells from the toxic damage of oxidation. It helps maintain the health of skin membranes.15
Aren’t these reasons good enough to include a glass of tomato juice in your diet?
|↑1||Beecher, Gary R. “Nutrient content of tomatoes and tomato products.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 218, no. 2 (1998): 98-100.|
|↑2, ↑11||Story, Erica N., Rachel E. Kopec, Steven J. Schwartz, and G. Keith Harris. “An update on the health effects of tomato lycopene.” Annual review of food science and technology 1 (2010): 189-210.|
|↑3||Viuda-Martos, M., E. Sanchez-Zapata, E. Sayas-Barberá, E. Sendra, J. A. Perez-Alvarez, and J. Fernandez-Lopez. “Tomato and tomato byproducts. Human health benefits of lycopene and its application to meat products: a review.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 54, no. 8 (2014): 1032-1049.|
|↑4, ↑14||Vitamin C. UMM.|
|↑5||WATADA, ALLEY E., Barbara B. Aulenbach, and John T. Worthington. “Vitamins A and C in ripe tomatoes as affected by stage of ripeness at harvest and by supplementary ethylene.” Journal of Food Science 41, no. 4 (1976): 856-858.|
|↑6, ↑15||Vitamin A. UMM.|
|↑7||Li, Yu-Fen, Ya-Yuan Chang, Hui-Chi Huang, Yi-Chen Wu, Mei-Due Yang, and Pei-Min Chao. “Tomato juice supplementation in young women reduces inflammatory adipokine levels independently of body fat reduction.” Nutrition 31, no. 5 (2015): 691-696.|
|↑8||Guan, Yong-Song, and Qing He. “Plants consumption and liver health.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑9||Heinerman, John. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Juices: From a Medical Anthropologist’s Files, Here Are Nature’s Own Healing Juices for Hundreds of Today’s Most Common Health Problems. Penguin, 1994.|
|↑10||Silaste, Marja-Leena, Georg Alfthan, Antti Aro, Y. Antero Kesäniemi, and Sohvi Hörkkö. “Tomato juice decreases LDL cholesterol levels and increases LDL resistance to oxidation.” British Journal of Nutrition 98, no. 6 (2007): 1251-1258.|
|↑12||García-Alonso, F. J., R. González-Barrio, G. Martín-Pozuelo, N. Hidalgo, I. Navarro-González, D. Masuero, E. Soini, U. Vrhovsek, and M. J. Periago. “A study of the prebiotic-like effects of tomato juice consumption in rats with diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).” Food & Function (2017).|
|↑13||Frusciante, Luigi, Paola Carli, Maria R. Ercolano, Rita Pernice, Antonio Di Matteo, Vincenzo Fogliano, and Nicoletta Pellegrini. “Antioxidant nutritional quality of tomato.” Molecular nutrition & food research 51, no. 5 (2007): 609-617.|