Tomatoes are popular in the kitchen, among athletes, and even in the beauty industry. But, what about juicing them and drinking it?
7 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Tomato Juice
1. It's An Excellent Source of Antioxidant
Out of all the antioxidants, lycopene is the major antioxidant of tomato, and there are so many health benefits associated with lycopene. Most of the health benefits of tomato are because of this lycopene.
Antioxidants play a very important role in our body by neutralizing the free-radicals. Free-radicals are produced in our body by normal metabolic processes, some kind of stress, tumors, and even toxins. They need to be neutralized because they are highly unstable molecules that are capable of damaging our DNA, cause mutation, and cell damage.
Tomato juice is very effective against these free-radicals and plays a major role in free-radical neutralization by stimulating the enzymes involved in the process.
Living in a polluted environment with quite a sedentary life, most of us could use a glass of tomato juice.
2. It’s a Good Source of Nutrients
Tomato is rich in many nutrients including vitamin A, B complex and C, and minerals like magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. It is also rich in antioxidants.
But tomato is particularly rich in vitamin A and C. 1 medium size tomato gets you 20% of vitamin A and 40% of vitamin C of the daily recommended dose of these vitamins. It's a lot for a single medium-sized tomato!
Tomato is, therefore, believed to be good for your eyes as vitamin A plays a major role in the maintenance of eye health. On the other hand, because of high vitamin C content, tomato is quite popular in the beauty industry as well.
Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen. Collagen plays a major role in maintaining the elasticity of our skin, joints, wound healing, etc. Vitamin C is also important for our immunity. It is this collagen that keeps your skin wrinkle-free. Collagen is also prone to damage by free radicals, which is readily neutralized by the antioxidants of tomato.
So, if you are looking for a healthy juice for good skin health, this is the juice for you.
3. It's Great for Your Heart
Lycopene is also associated with cardiac protection, according to research. Attributed to its components lycopene, beta-carotene, and gamma-carotene, tomato is known to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
These components reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and also prevents oxidation of this LDL cholesterol. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol involves the reaction of LDL with free-radicals and the production of harmful complexes. It is this oxidized LDL that leads to the formation of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is the deposition of this oxidized LDL which narrows down and weakens our blood vessels and leads to heart diseases like heart attack, angina, peripheral vascular diseases, and even stroke.
Thus, tomato maintains the health of our blood vessels and prevents cardiac diseases.
4. It Might Help Prevent Certain Cancers
A study on mice reported shown that tomato prevents cancer-inducing mutations in the cells. This overall prevents the development of cancer and increases life-expectancy.
It was also observed that on exposure to certain carcinogenic agents, major enzymes involved in neutralization of free-radicals were depressed. But following oral intake of tomato juice, significant activation of those enzymes was noted. This means tomato juice consumption significantly neutralized free-radicals, which regularly helps our system to detoxify and prevents cancer in the long run.
5. Tomato Juice Would Make a Great Weight Loss Drink
Studies have shown that tomato juice consumption (280 ml for 2 months) is linked with a reduction in total body fat, waist circumference, and weight.
Tomato is very rich in fibers, particularly insoluble fibers (more than 80%). Insoluble fibers are the fibers which are not digested body. These are the fibers that keep us full for a longer time, thus increases satiety and prevents over-eating.
On top of that, tomato is a very low-calorie food. 1 medium-sized tomato contains only 25 calories. It's quite likely that our body uses more calories than that to digest it. This makes tomato juice a perfect health drink, especially for weight loss.
6. It Makes a Great Pre- and Post-Workout Drink
Drinking tomato juice before a workout reduces the oxidative stress an athlete undergoes while exercising. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the number of free-radicals and their neutralization. People who perform high-intensity workouts produce a higher amount of free-radicals while workout and therefore are at a higher risk of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress also reduces the aerobic capacity and thus reduces performance. This can be tackled by simply drinking a glass of tomato juice before your workout. Using tomato juice as a supplement reduces oxidative stress during a workout, all thanks to lycopene.
The workout is usually followed by sore muscles and fatigue. Tomato juice can help you here as well, as it is great for reducing post-workout soreness and fatigue.
So, overall, if your workout performance is good and if the post-workout recovery time is less, you might be more willing to do regular exercise. Thus, tomato juice might indirectly help promote motivation to workout more.
Therefore, tomato juice could be your perfect workout companion too!
7. Tomato Juice is Good For Pregnant Women
Tomato juice might just be one of the healthiest drinks for pregnant women.
Anemia in pregnancy is a serious issue in many parts of the world. Anemia can lead to many fatal complications in pregnancy. If you are at risk of anemia or if you are anemic, tomato juice could be a good natural supplement (NOT a replacement to the iron tablets prescribed to you during pregnancy), for anemia. Tomato juice consumption in pregnancy is linked with improved hemoglobin levels.
It is also particularly good for pregnant women with hypertension. Studies have found that lycopene is also very effective in reducing blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) in pregnant women with hypertension significantly.
High blood pressure in pregnancy could lead to many severe pregnancy-related complications, including IUGR and even fetal death, and a healthy level of blood pressure must be maintained throughout the pregnancy. Tomato juice can be your first step in doing just that.
Not only that, but pre-natal exposure to fruit juices might be beneficial for the baby as well. In a study conducted in rats, in which pregnant rats were fed a combination of tomato and orange juice, it was found that progeny of the group of rats that were fed the juice had better memory and less generalized anxiety behavior in early infancy period when compared to control group. They overall had higher learning scores. Surprisingly, similar effects were not seen when orange juice and tomato juice were given individually. Tomato juice also improves cognitive development in infants.
So, if you are pregnant, tomato juice is the juice for you.
Are There Any Side-Effects of Tomato Juice?
Tomato is quite safe for everyone to use, including pregnant women. Studies have proven that it's overall very safe; no teratogenic effects or long-term systemic side-effects are associated with tomato use.
Long-term extremely high doses of lycopene intake cause lycopene accumulation in the liver. Although it is totally reversible and doesn't cause any short-term or long-term liver dysfunction.
The only visible side-effect of a high amount of lycopene consumption is lycopenemia, which causes the skin to turn orange. Although, again, this condition is fully reversible. One case study suggests that 3 weeks of tomato-free diet would completely reverse the skin discoloration.
How to Prepare Tomato Juice At Home
You can get ready-made pure tomato juice in the market. Some brands sell pure tomato juice while others have other vegetable juices mixed in it. Some brands may also have a lot of sodium in it. If you are hypertensive, you want to avoid these brands.
If you'd rather like a home-made tomato juice, you can make it at home too. Though, you won't be using a juicer for it. You'd have to cook it.
Take some tomato, chop them. Put the chopped tomato in a pan and cook it until it is soft/soupy. Don't cook for too long. Once done, pass the paste you just created through a strainer to remove any larger chunks. Let it cool and enjoy!
This is the basic tomato juice, but if you like you can add more ingredients into it. For starters, its a juice so you can put a couple of teaspoons of sugar. You can even add some seasonings like salt, pepper, chili powder, etc. You can also add other vegetable juices, vegetable whole, or herbs in your tomato juice.
The advantage of home-made tomato juice is that you know exactly what it contains and you can always modify it according to your taste.
Tomato juice seems to be one of the healthiest juices out there, useful in quite a variety of scenarios, with no long-term side-effects.
Although preparing it at home would need a little bit more effort than simply juicing a fruit, the health benefits that it offers totally makes going through all that trouble worth it. You can prepare large quantities at once and refrigerate it for the next couple of days.
It's a delicious and healthy juice at the same time, so why not add it to your diet?