Here is a simple recipe for Indian tomato sauce plus tomato sauce health benefits. This recipe is healthy (low in calories and fat, high in lycopene and fiber), tasty and liked by everyone. Indian spices make the sauce easier on the digestive system, and super tasty. Plus there’s several health benefits to tomato sauce, some of which may surprise you.
Tomatoes are the second most-consumed vegetable and the third largest vegetable cash crop in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are both cheap and can be purchased through local farmers markets. On top of being highly nutrient dense, with an array of minerals and vitamins, tomatoes also contain a power house nutrient called lycopene.
Lycopene has an impressive spectrum of health benefits. Research found that Lycopene is absorbed more efficiently from processed tomato products than from raw tomatoes because it is converted from the all-trans to the cis-isomeric configuration with heat processing1 which is another reason to add tomato sauce in your diet.
According to Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India, raw tomatoes can cause acidity and flatulence in some people especially of Pitta Vata prakriti or constitution. In order to reduce its unwanted effects and enjoy its taste and health benefits, it should always be taken cooked and de-seeded.
Those who can digest tomatoes without any discomfort can eat them raw or drink them as a juice after adding a dash of powdered black pepper and cumin seeds. People who are not comfortable with raw tomatoes can cook them with spices like turmeric, pepper, cumin seeds, et cetera and incorporate them into their diet that way.
Tomato products, such as tomato-based sauces, are the richest dietary sources of lycopene and provide more than 80% of dietary lycopene. The amount
of lycopene in processed tomato products is often much higher than in fresh tomatoes.2 Tomato sauce contains 10-14 mg of lycopene per 100 g of tomatoes but fresh tomatoes contain only 1-8 mg of lycopene per 100 g of tomatoes.3
Tomato is an excellent source of vitamin C, E, K, potassium, manganese, folate (vitamin B9), beta-carotene, lycopene and fiber. The potassium and manganese in tomatoes helps your body build stronger bones and stave off the muscle cramps you could get due to low levels of these minerals.
From several recent medical studies, tomato has emerged as a supplier of antioxidant compounds essential in human metabolism. The singlet oxygen-quenching ability of lycopene is twice that of ß-carotene and 10 times that of α-tocopherol.4
Tomato sauce is a popular condiment. It can help your health in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of tomatoes.
Tomatoes assist in lowering LDL cholesterol.5 They are beneficial in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.6 A New Zealand study found that tomato juice increased plasma lycopene concentrations and the intrinsic resistance of LDL to oxidation almost as effectively as supplementation with high doses of vitamin E in patients with type 2 diabetes.7
A tomato-rich diet significantly increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol serum levels by 15.2% over one month of follow-up.8
Tomatoes have a protective effect on the inner layer of our blood vessels and decrease the risk of blood clotting.9 Tomato products contain anti-platelet compounds that appear to inhibit thrombin-induced platelet aggregation, which may aid in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Tomato extract significantly reduced platelet aggregation three hours after supplementation.10
Tomato extract contains potassium carotenoids such as lycopene, beta carotene, and vitamin E, which are known as effective antioxidants that inactivate free radicals and slow the progress of atherosclerosis, reducing hypertension.11 Tomato extracts have been shown to reduce blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension. Tomato extract when added to patients treated with low doses of ACE inhibition, calcium channel blockers, or their combination with low-dose diuretics had a clinically significant effect, a reduction of blood pressure by more than 10 mmHg systolic and more than 5 mmHg diastolic pressure.12
Due to their antioxidant effect and presence of lycopene carotenoids, tomatoes and tomato products, provide benefit in cancers of the pancreas, colon, rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, cervix, prostate, lung and stomach cancers.13
Lycopene is the major carotenoid of the tomato and is a very efficient singlet oxygen quencher in the group of carotenoids. Following ingestion of tomato-derived products rich in lycopene, photo-protective effects have been demonstrated. Dietary carotenoids may contribute to life-long protection against harmful UV radiation and thus protect against sunburn.14
Taking 40 grams of tomato paste, which provides 16 mg of lycopene, with olive oil, every day for 10 weeks reduces the incidence of UV light-induced erythema by 40%.15
Moreover, tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant responsible for the synthesis of collagen, an essential component of the skin, hair, nails and connective tissue. Low intake of vitamin C is associated with increased damage from sunlight, pollution and smoke, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, blemishes and other adverse health effects.
As tomatoes are a good source of lutein, beta-carotene and are powerful antioxidants, they are effective in protecting the eyes against light-induced damage associated with the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). With an intake of a good amount of lutein, the improvement of visual function and symptoms was also reported in atrophic age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). β-Carotene is considered a provitamin because it can be converted into retinol, a compound essential for vision.16
Tomato is a low glycemic index food and a good source of fiber which makes it a suitable food for diabetics. People with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, while people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g of fiber per day for women and 30-38 g per day for men.
Tomato juice intake alleviated menopausal symptoms, including anxiety, depression, basal metabolism, increased heart rate, and lowered high baseline serum Triglyceride levels in middle-aged women.17
Regular intake of tomatoes or tomato products prevents osteoporosis which is common in menopausal women. Research proves that Lycopene
and others antioxidants in tomato sauce prevent free radical formation and oxidative stress thereby inhibiting osteoporosis.18
High levels of antioxidants present in tomatoes helps to reduce oxidative stress and improve both the quality and quantity of spermatozoa, therefore improving fertility outcomes. In studies it was found that Lycopene helps in increasing sperm count, sperm motility and sperm viability. Lycopene is the most abundant carotenoid in the ripened tomato and is also successful in normalizing the amount of abnormal sperm. Lycopene is able to aid in the reduction of DNA damage in spermatozoa, therefore increasing the chances of successful fertilization of the oocyte and better embryo development.19
Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber can help with hydration and promote regular bowel movements. Fiber adds bulk to stools and is essential for minimizing constipation. Research shows that patients with low consumption of tomatoes suffered from IBS.20
This tomato sauce recipe is ideal for all dosha prakriti. So next time dip your food into this healthy, tasty and easy to prepare tomato sauce and enjoy its nutritional benefits. It’s delicious with dosa (savory Indian pancakes) served alongside coconut chutney.
8 cups tomatoes
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
1 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp garam masala or powdered mixture of black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon or cassia bark, mace, black and green cardamom pods, bay
leaf, cumin, coriande
2 tsp vinegar
Rinse and pat dry the tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes into 4-6 pieces per tomato. Now, heat a pan and transfer the tomatoes into it. Keep the flame low.
Remember not to add water. Let the tomatoes boil in their own juices. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook for 5 minutes. After that, remove the
lid and stir the tomatoes, making sure to move them from underneath. Again, cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Check again and if they are not completely cooked then cook longer in the same way for 5 minutes more.
After about 15 minutes, the tomatoes will be cooked thoroughly. Now, turn off the flame and let the tomatoes cool down completely. Blend the tomatoes into a fine paste. Strain this puree with the help of sieve and discard the pulp which includes seeds and peel.
Preheat a pan and pour this tomato puree into it. Stir and cook until it starts simmering. Add sugar to the puree. Keep stirring continuously until it becomes thick in consistency. Now add dry ginger powder, black salt and Indian garam masala mixture into the sauce. Stir to mix everything really well.
The tomato sauce will have thickened by now. Turn off the flame and allow to cool down completely. After the sauce cools down completely then add vinegar to it and mix it thoroughly.
A creamy, spicy and tangy tomato sauce is now ready to serve. Transfer it to a bowl and when it cools down completely store it in an airtight container.
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8 Blum A, Merei M, Karem A, et al. Effects of tomatoes on the lipid profile. CLIN Invest Med.2006;29:298-300.
9 Palomo I et.al,Platelets and atherogenesis: Platelet anti-aggregation activity and endothelial protection from tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) 2012 Apr;3(4):577-584. Epub 2012 Feb 9.
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12 Azar Baradaran, Oxidative stress and hypertension: Possibility of hypertension therapy with antioxidants, 2014 Apr; 19(4): 358–367. PMCID: PMC4115353 Journal of Research in Medical science.
13 Giovannucci E Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: review of the epidemiologic literature, 1999 Feb 17;91(4):317-31. PubMed.
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15 Stahl W e.al,Dietary tomato paste protects against ultraviolet light-induced erythema in humans. J Nutr. 2001 May;131(5):1449-51. PubMed
16 Asunta Raiola Enhancing the Health-Promoting Effects of Tomato Fruit for Biofortified Food2014; 2014: 139873.Published online 2014 Mar 12. doi: 10.1155/2014/139873, PMCID: PMC3972926
17 Asuka Hirose Tomato juice intake increases resting energy expenditure and improves hypertriglyceridemia in middle-aged women: an open-label, single-arm study 2015; 14: 34. Published online 2015 Apr 8. doi: 10.1186/s12937-015- 0021-4 PMCID: PMC4406031
18 L.G. Rao and A.V. Rao, Oxidative Stress and Antioxidants in the Risk of Osteoporosis — Role of the Antioxidants Lycopene and Polyphenols Chapter 5 Published: May 15, 2013 DOI:10.5772/54703
19 Durairajanayagam D et at Lycopene and male infertility 2014 May-Jun;16(3):420- 5. doi:10.4103/1008-682X.126384. Review. PMID: 24675655
20 Pasquale Mansueto et al Food allergy in irritable bowel syndrome: The case of non-celiac wheat sensitivity 2015 Jun 21; 21(23): 7089–7109.World Journal of Gastroenterology, Published online 2015 Jun 21. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i23.7089.PMCID: PMC4476871
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