Tomato juice

Pressing matters and the importance of tomatoes

Tomatoes were first discovered in the Andes, South America and continue to grow wild in Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. The Incas and Aztecs began cultivating tomatoes in 700AD. They arrived in Europe in the 16th century. Tomatoes belong to the same plant family as peppers, potatoes, aubergines and tobacco and are the most commonly grown fruit in the world.

Many people believe the tomato to be a vegetable; this is incorrect as tomatoes contain seeds like other fruits, whereas vegetables do not. They are a very versatile fruit and can be combined with many sweet and savoury dishes and are not expensive to cultivate.

Tomatoes combine well with whole foods but one of the best ways to enjoy them is in a glass of tomato juice.

Why are tomatoes considered a super fruit?

A recent US study revealed that if men eat tomatoes on a regular basis they can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes include vitamins A, C and E. Their nutritional content includes flavonoids and potassium; two natural anti-inflammatories.

Other tomato juice benefits include their low calorific content, but the most effective chemical in tomatoes is the antioxidant called lycopene.

What is lycopene?

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, it is a common ingredient used in beauty products. It is naturally found in the liver, blood, adrenal glands and lungs. At Charite University in Berlin, a study was carried out by the dermatology department; in the study they discovered that lycopene can make skin smoother and reduce wrinkles.

Tomato juice has many health benefits but should not be mistaken as a wonder drug, to get the best benefits from tomato juice it should be combined with a healthy and balanced diet, rest and exercise.

One should look to buy a good organic tomato juice or you can press and blend your own tomatoes from home. The main difference between the two is when you buy organic tomato juice it will have been farmed naturally and was not genetically modified or didn’t contain any chemicals like pesticides or preservatives. Pressing your own tomato juice requires buying or growing your own tomatoes. Remember that most tomatoes from grocery stores will be genetically modified unless otherwise stated.

Whichever route you choose, tomatoes are a great addition to any person’s diet and their versatility means you can have a lot of fun cooking with them too.