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The Nutrition of Tomato Juice

Fitday Editor

Anyone with an interest in using whole foods or pursuing an organic diet will likely be looking at the tomato as part of a vegetable-based cuisine. It is rich with the kinds of essential nutrients found in unprocessed plant foods. Part of that study might include the nutrition factors of tomato juice, which is not only a part of some common recipes, but a base for soups and other complex juices as well.

Tomato Juice

As far as a calorie count, food scientists estimate that one cup of tomato juice has about 41 calories, a low number compared to some other natural food products. Most of those calories come from carbohydrates. That same serving has 1.8 g of protein.

Aside from the above, tomato juice has a good amount of vitamins A, C, D, E and K, with over half of the recommended daily value for vitamin C. It also has other items like niacin and folate. Although there are only trace amounts of fat in tomato juice, the single serving does include 8.6 g of sugars. Some types of canned tomato juice can be high in sodium, since manufacturers add salt to the juice. Unsalted natural tomato juice provides a healthier substitute for those with a need for a lower sodium diet.

Personal Health

Although tomato juice is very nutritious, it may not be a good fit for every individual's diet. Some critics of the tomato plant understand that the tomato is part of the nightshade family of vegetables, and that these plants contain some potential toxins. In the case of the tomato, most of the toxic ingredients, known as atropine and tomatine, are in the green stems and leaves of the plant, which are not commonly eaten. The actual tomato is safe for most people, but those with an allergy to nightshades have been known to associate tomatoes and tomato juice with digestive problems and other side effects.

A Healthy Diet

The best uses of tomato juice are in foods that promote a natural whole food approach to meals. Tomato juice can be a good main ingredient for juice blends, and it can also be used as a base for soups including tomato bisque, tomato pepper, ham and beans, or various other similar recipes. Some cooks like to use tomato juice in a pot roast. A great warm-weather healthy use of tomato juice is cold gazpacho, a Spanish delicacy where the juice is thickened with onions or other ingredients. Another one is salsa, where a mix of tomatoes, garlic, cilantro or other vegetables result in a rich, fresh blend that represents a whole foods approach to snacking.

Those who want to use tomato juice in nutritious, health-conscious dishes have a lot to choose from. The main thing to remember is that most prepared foods contain a lot of unwanted sodium, fats, preservatives and much more. Using fresh vegetables means that more of the antioxidants and other "good stuff" will be present in your dishes. Think about tomato juice as a good option for healthy cooking.

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