There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of tomato soup on a cold day. It’s the gold standard for comfort food and with good reason. But did you know that eating tomato soup can provide so many health benefits?
The list of vitamins and nutrients in one tomato is unbelievable. Plus, when making tomato soup, you are most likely consuming more than this amount, so any pureed tomato recipe is fantastic if you are trying to reap the benefits of all the tomato has to offer.
As stated on the USDA website a whole tomato contains:
|Total lipid (fat)||0.25||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||4.86||g|
|Fiber, total dietary||1.5||g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||3.29||g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||17.1||mg|
|Vitamin B-12, added||0||µg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||52.5||µg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||154||µg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.675||mg|
|Vitamin E, added||0||mg|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||0||µg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||9.88||µg|
As you can see from the chart above, tomatoes boast many antioxidants including beta-carotene, phytoene, and phytofluene. Tomatoes also contain lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that is responsible for giving tomatoes their red color. It has been shown to help prevent cancer, protect eyes from oxidative stress, reduces nerve pain, improves cardiovascular health, and protects brain health. Studies have shown that regular consumption of tomatoes help prevent chronic degenerative diseases.
More possible benefits associated with tomatoes.
As mentioned above, lycopene may help prevent cancer and reduce tumor size. A study published by The American Institute for Cancer Research states that cooked tomatoes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Not only that, processing tomatoes releases the lycopene and makes it more readily available, and allows the body to absorb it more easily.
Chronic inflammation occurs when the body sees something as a potential foreign invader. Inflammation generally serves to protect our body from injury, however, when the inflammation persists, it can cause an overreaction which leads to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to auto-immune conditions and issues such as arthritis. Tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables can help alleviate the inflammation in our bodies.
It is important to note that some people may be allergic to tomatoes, or may already suffer from auto-immune conditions. Because tomatoes are a nightshade food, they could cause an increase in symptoms if an allergy exists. Visit with a knowledgeable practitioner if you suspect that you are allergic to tomatoes.
Consuming tomatoes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may even reduce high cholesterol. An article published by The National Library of Medicine states that “In a recent study, healthy human subjects ingesting lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant, in the form of tomato juice, tomato sauce, and oleoresin soft gel capsules for 1 week had significantly lower levels of LDL(ox) compared with controls.”
Another article goes on to say “Other cardioprotective functions provided by the nutrients in tomatoes may include the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, homocysteine, platelet aggregation, and blood pressure. Because tomatoes include several nutrients associated with theoretical or proven effects and are widely consumed year-round, they may be considered a valuable component of a cardioprotective diet.”
We always hear how carrots can help improve vision, but tomatoes are often overlooked yet offer the same benefit. Tomatoes can help improve eyesight due to the high levels of vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and lycopene.
The risk of macular degeneration may be reduced by consuming a specific combination of vitamins that include beta-carotene.
In a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, consumption of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin reduced the risk of bone fractures in men and women. In fact, those with the highest carotenoid intake had up to a 46% less risk of bone fractures. The National Osteoporosis Foundation also lists tomatoes as one of the top foods to consume for bone health, so adding it to your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables can help improve bone health which is so important as we age.
Vitamin C is crucial for good health, but did you know that vitamin C is important for skin health as well? The vitamin C in tomatoes can help improve wound healing. In addition, lutein and zeaxanthin may improve skin tone and protect from sun damage.
Now that you know all of the benefits of eating tomatoes, here’s a recipe round-up of some great tomato soup recipes to cook on a cold winter night.
Plus, great inflammation-fighting soup recipes.
Read about other superfoods for cold weather.