Tomato paste is a popular ingredient for refining sauces, soups or casseroles. But the paste is not only good for seasoning: it also contains one of the most powerful antioxidants that can protect our cells.
Tomato paste should not be missing in any kitchen. Its aromatic taste gives many dishes the finishing touch. On top of that, tomato paste is also very healthy. Because the concentrate provides many valuable ingredients.
Lycopene is at the top of the list. This is a natural coloring that belongs to the carotenoids and is mainly found in the skin of tomatoes. There, lycopene is responsible for its typical red color. At the same time it is one of the strongest antioxidants. Lycopene protects the tomato from free radicals that can arise from harmful environmental influences. This includes, for example, the UV radiation of the sun.
Does tomato paste protect our cells?
Lycopene can also increase the natural skin protection in humans if you regularly eat a lot of tomatoes. And that’s not all: the “radical scavenger” is said to have a whole range of protective effects. Among other things, it should also strengthen the heart and blood vessels.
That’s why tomato paste provides so much lycopene
Processed tomato products such as tomato paste contain a particularly large amount of the healthy plant substance.
On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the fruit vegetables used for this were able to ripen longer – unlike fresh tomatoes. These are often picked when they are still unripe in order to survive the long transport routes. They then mature.
The longer ripening process, on the other hand, has the advantage that secondary plant substances such as lycopene have more time to form. The following applies: the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains.
However, it can only really dissolve at higher temperatures: When heated, the cell walls collapse and the lycopene is released. This means that the human body can better absorb and utilize the lycopene from heated foods such as tomato paste or juice.
There are many vitamins in tomato paste
However, lycopene is not the only healthy substance in tomato paste. There are many vitamins in the red paste – albeit in smaller quantities than in raw vegetables. Thus, it provides some B group vitamins. These are good for the brain, nerves and energy metabolism.
Vitamin B5 is contained in a particularly high amount. This helps to reduce tiredness, stomach pain and moodiness. Tomato paste also contains vitamins C and E, among other things. Both also have an antioxidant effect and thus additionally support the immune system.
In addition, tomato paste supplies the body with minerals such as potassium. In addition, it is low in fat. So if you regularly refine your dishes with the concentrate, you can’t do much wrong.
The concentrate contains a lot of sugar and salt
However, tomato paste naturally contains a relatively large amount of sugar. People who want to avoid sugar should therefore not use too much of the spice paste. In addition, a lot of salt is often added. Therefore, the food should only be salted sparingly or not at all.
People with histamine intolerance should be particularly careful. Because there is a lot of this protein in tomatoes. Further processing increases the histamine content. If you do not tolerate the substance well, you should better not eat tomato paste.
Cooking tomato paste yourself is not difficult
It is also important to keep your eyes open when shopping. Because some tomato paste can contain undesirable or even unappetizing ingredients. In our tomato paste test, we discovered mold toxins in every second product. This also applies to three organic products. We also found questionable pesticides in some pastes.
Alternatively, you can simply cook tomato paste yourself. This not only avoids possible harmful substances: connoisseurs can give the concentrate an individual aroma, for example with garlic, chili or basil. Pureeing and preserving is much easier than you think. It is important to use sun-ripened tomatoes – preferably from regional cultivation, of course.