When it comes to adding flavor to food, tomato sauce is a popular choice. Whether it’s for pasta, pizza, or meat dishes, it’s a versatile ingredient that can enhance the taste of many meals. But is tomato sauce good for you? Here’s the surprising answer!
What is Tomato Sauce?
Tomato sauce is a popular sauce made from tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and various herbs and spices. The sauce is cooked down and blended until it reaches a smooth consistency. It’s a popular ingredient in many cuisines and is typically used as a base for other sauces, as well as a topping for pasta, pizza, and meat dishes.
The Nutritional Value of Tomato Sauce
Calories and Macronutrients
A half-cup serving of tomato sauce contains approximately 50 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie food. It’s also low in fat, with approximately 2 grams per serving. However, tomato sauce is rich in carbohydrates, with approximately 10 grams per serving.
Tomato sauce is a good source of vitamins A and C, and it’s also rich in potassium. However, it’s important to note that processed tomato products, such as canned tomato sauce or store-bought jars of marinara, may have added sugar and sodium. It’s always important to read the labels and choose low-sugar and low-sodium options when possible.
Health Benefits of Tomato Sauce
May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
The high levels of antioxidants, including lycopene, found in tomatoes, may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
May Improve Heart Health
The potassium found in tomatoes can help lower blood pressure, which in turn can reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the lycopene found in tomatoes has been linked to reduced LDL cholesterol levels and improved arterial health.
May Benefit Eye Health
The vitamin A found in tomatoes is essential for eye health and may help reduce the risk of eye-related diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Things to Consider When Choosing Tomato Sauce
Many store-bought tomato sauces contain added sugar to help balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Keep an eye out for sauces that are labeled as “low sugar” or “no sugar added” to keep your sugar intake in check.
Some store-bought tomato sauces are high in sodium, which can be detrimental to heart health. Look for sauces that are labeled as “low-sodium” to help reduce your sodium intake.
Some tomato sauces may contain added ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, or artificial flavors and colors. Be sure to read the label and choose sauces that have minimal added ingredients.
How to Make Your Own Tomato Sauce
Making your own tomato sauce is relatively easy and can be a great way to control the ingredients and nutrition of the sauce. Here’s a simple recipe:
|28 oz. canned tomatoes||Drain the tomatoes and remove any stems or seeds. Set aside.|
|3 cloves garlic, minced||In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.|
|1 tbsp. olive oil||Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.|
|1 tsp. dried basil||Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and dried herbs to taste.|
|1 tsp. dried oregano||Use an immersion blender or transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.|
|Salt and pepper to taste||Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.|
Tomato sauce can be a delicious and healthy addition to many meals. It’s low in calories and fat and high in important nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. However, it’s important to choose low-sugar and low-sodium options and read the label to avoid added ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup. Homemade tomato sauce is a great way to control the ingredients and nutrition of the sauce.
Common Questions About Tomato Sauce
- Is tomato sauce good for weight loss?
- Does tomato sauce have a lot of sugar?
- Is tomato sauce high in sodium?
- Is tomato sauce vegetarian?
Tomato sauce is relatively low in calories and fat, making it a good option for those trying to lose weight. However, it’s important to be mindful of added sugar and sodium content when choosing store-bought options.
Some store-bought tomato sauces may have added sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. It’s important to read the label and choose low-sugar or no-sugar-added options when possible.
Some store-bought tomato sauces may be high in sodium. It’s important to read the label and choose low-sodium options when possible.
Tomato sauce is typically vegetarian, but some store-bought options may contain animal products such as meat broth. Be sure to read the label and choose vegetarian options if that is a concern.
1. “Tomato Nutrition.” Tomato Wellness Council, www.tomatowellness.com/nutrition/tomato-nutrition/.
2. “Healthy Food Pick: Tomato Sauce.” The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 2016, wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/healthy-food-pick-tomato-sauce.
3. “Tomatoes and Cancer Prevention.” American Institute of Cancer Research, 2021, www.aicr.org/resources/blog/tomatoes-and-cancer-prevention/.
4. “Tomatoes: Are They Good for You?” Mayo Clinic, 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20057985.