Did you know you can easily make tomato juice out of tomato paste? Add some healthy unrefined sea salt and friendly fats for better absorption and you have a health drink.
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Living in California, we seem to enjoy our tomatoes every which way. But one overlooked method of consuming tomatoes was drinking it. For some unknown reason, that was always the choice of drink for myself and my family when flying in an airplane but it wasn’t until just recently that I started making my own tomato juice…on the ground. This drink is easily made from tomato paste, in conjunction with a friendly fat and unrefined sea salt. I always add a pinch of cayenne for a kick. But what I love the most about this simple drink are the health benefits.
What is Lycopene?
The many health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of vitamins and nutrients. They boast an impressive amount of vitamins A, C, E, K as well as folate, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. But in particular, tomatoes contain a robust amount of lycopene, a naturally occurring pigment linked to the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. (source) This pigment belongs to a family of antioxidants called carotenoids and their properties are associated with protecting cells and regulating cell growth.
Health Benefits of Cooked Tomatoes
Research has found that absorption of lycopene can be significantly increased by heating the molecule. Lycopene in it’s raw form, tends to crystallize which lowers its absorption potential. On the contrary, when lycopene is heated, the bent forms are able to easily find their way during digestion increasing the antioxidant absorption potential. (source)
Adding Friendly Fats
Additionally, consuming fat and carotenoids together improved absorption of lycopene and other compounds even further. I’ve not been one to shy from healthy fats such as pastured butter, lard and avocado oil as those are all important for excellent nourishment. So when tomatoes are eaten with those healthier fats, the body’s absorption of the carotenoid can more than double. (source) I always do my best to consume foods high in carotenoids with some fat. Adding avocado oil or best-sourced olive oil to your tomato juice will ensure the best absorption of phytochemicals.
Note on Tomato Paste Source:
Tomato paste is readily available at most grocery stores but I would caution against buying paste in cans because of the potential for BPA to leach into those foods, especially if those foods are acidic. Even though many companies have started to remove BPA from their products, they are often replaced with equally harmful substance. Instead, go for tomato products and other acidic foods in glass jars. Bionaturae is a great company and you can purchase a few jars on Amazon or at your local natural food store. Amazon also has a 12-pack that is more cost-efficient if you use tomato paste often.
But the best option is to source tomato paste from European markets. I love Tukas, a Turkish brand of tomato paste that only contains tomatoes and no added salt. I can find a jar of this for under $4 at my local European market, much cheaper than Amazon’s price. And as always, read the ingredients to avoid preservatives and added salt.
Sidenote:: I often find non-organic foods from European countries are much better in quality than American. As upsetting as that is, the reality is so many of US crops are heavily sprayed and more and more foods are GM produced. I can’t always purchase everything organic, therefore, I am often left to source foods from countries that have banned GMO crops. You can find the origin of your food on any label and then check out this map to see if that country has banned GMOs.
How To Make Tomato Juice From Tomato Paste
How To Make Tomato Juice From Tomato PastePrint
- Combine all ingredients together and stir or whisk vigorously to break up the fats in the oil.
- Enjoy on ice.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Stir well before drinking as tomato paste will settle.