Tomato Juice: Surprising Benefits And How To Make
Tomato juice has been a valuable staple for centuries, as tomatoes are extremely popular vegetables, easy to juice, and are found throughout the world. Tomato juice is derived from tomatoes, which are scientifically known as Solanum lycopersicum, but there are many different varieties and size of tomatoes, often dependent on where in the world they grow. The vast majority of tomatoes are red in color and range in size, from the size of a grape to the size of a potato – and some can grow even larger! These perennial plants are relatively easy to grow in different environments, although they are native to Mexico, where they are a very valuable crop. Tomatoes and their juice provide a rich supply of lycopene and various other carotenoids, as well as numerous phytochemicals, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and calcium, making it an effective treatment or supplement for numerous health conditions.
Tomato juice is commonly sold in stores around the world, although many people prefer to make their own tomato juice at home, which means that it is 100% juice, without any additives or excess sodium. In fact, most experts recommend not purchasing tomato juice at a store if you are able to make it yourself. While many people think that fruits often lose some of their nutrients in the juicing process, tomato juice actually has more bio-availability in terms of nutrients, due to the process of creating the juice. This means tomato juice is even more impactful for your overall health, leading to the many impressive benefits outlined below.
Benefits of Tomato Juice
The excellent benefits of tomato juice include improving digestion, helping in weight-loss, lowering toxicity levels in the body, suppressing cholesterol, boosting bone strength, aiding vision, preventing certain cancers, supporting cardiovascular health and reducing inflammation.
Obesity: The high content of fiber and nutrient density in tomato juice can make it a very filling beverage. In fact, drinking a glass of thick tomato juice can often feel like a meal in itself! This juice can stimulate the release of leptin, the satiety hormone, which will prevent overeating and snacking between meals, thereby helping in weight loss.
Cholesterol: The dietary fiber that is included in tomato juice can significantly lower your negative (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can clear out your arteries and improve your cardiovascular health. Furthermore, some of the B vitamins in this juice also optimize heart health and strengthen blood vessel walls to resist plaque buildup.
Cancer: Lycopene does more than give tomatoes their signature color; it can also help to prevent various cancers. Along with other carotenoid antioxidants, lycopene can seek out and neutralize free radicals, which contribute to cellular mutation and oxidative stress in the body. More specifically, research has shown that tomato juice can significantly lower an individual’s risk of pancreatic cancer.
Heart Health: In addition to lowering cholesterol levels, tomato juice has also been linked to neutralizing homocysteine, which can damage blood vessels and interrupt normal heart function. The phytonutrients found in this juice can also prevent blood clotting, lowering your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Inflammatory Issues: Inflammatory conditions can attack any part of the body, from the gut and joints to the muscles, head and organ system tissues. Studies have shown that the antioxidants in tomato juice do have anti-inflammatory effects, making this an excellent juice with which to start your day, keeping you pain-free and comfortable all day long!
Vision: High levels of vitamin A found in this juice mean that it can help aid and protect vision health. Vitamin A functions as an antioxidant, reducing the oxidative stress in the center of the retina, thereby supporting vision as we age, while also slowing the onset of cataracts.
Bone Mineral Density: With notable levels of potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, tomato juice is naturally linked to healthier bones and more bone mineral density. This is excellent for people as they age, or if you have other risk factors for osteoporosis, such as mineral deficiencies or an eating disorder.
Detoxify: Some of the active ingredients in tomato juice, such as beta-carotene and sulfur, can help to stimulate the activity of the kidneys and liver, helping to speed the detoxification process and increase urination which further eliminates excess salts and fats in the body.
Digestion: This juice has a good amount of fiber, which can increase peristaltic motion and improve digestive efficiency, while also stimulating bile production and eliminating issues like constipation, bloating, cramping and excess flatulence.
How to Make Tomato Juice
While tomato juice is available in almost every grocery store, many people prefer to make it at home, which isn’t too hard to do! All you need are some tomatoes, onions and spices for your own delicious, hearty beverage, without many of the other additives or salt that is so often included in store-bought varieties.
- 6-8 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/4 cup of onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
Step 1 – Add all ingredients to a large pot and heat to a simmer.
Step 2 – Continue cooking until the consistency is like a soup (approximately 20 minutes)
Step 3 – Allow mixture to cool, then add to a blender.
Step 4 – Blend thoroughly for even consistency.
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
Note: This recipe will make a 3-4 servings of tomato juice. Refrigerate the juice and shake thoroughly before serving.
Side Effects of Tomato Juice
There are a few potential side effects of tomato juice that you should consider before making it a major part of your diet, including cardiovascular risks, stomach upset and skin discoloration.
- Heart Health – Store-bought tomato juice can have high levels of sodium, but even tomato juice you make at home will have a measurable amount of this mineral. In responsible doses, sodium is critical to heart health, but in high quantities, it can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease. If you are already suffering from high blood pressure, drink this juice in moderation.
- Gastrointestinal Issues – Tomato juice is quite acidic, which isn’t bad in small quantities, but it can cause digestive discomfort, bloating, cramping and diarrhea when consumed in large quantities. Even 1 glass of tomato juice per day is beneficial for your health; there is no need to overdo it!
- Skin Coloring – The reason that tomatoes have such a rich and inviting color is their high content of lycopene, but when consumed in large quantities, that color can also begin affecting your pigments! If you begin seeing an orange or red tinge to your skin, you should scale back your tomato juice consumption.