Tomato paste is reduction of tomatoes that is strained of all seeds and skin. The long hours of cooking thicken tomatoes into a paste by reducing excess moisture. Available in tubes or cans, tomato paste features concentrated tomato flavor. Tomato paste is a source of several nutrients and also features some compounds that are not highly available in raw tomatoes, making it a healthy addition to recipes.
A 1-tbsp. serving of tomato paste contains just 13 calories and no fat, meaning it is not likely to contribute to weight gain. It also provides 244 international units of vitamin A, which is important to eye sight health, reproduction and fetal development. Although not as rich in vitamin C as fresh tomatoes, tomato paste still provides 3.5 mg of this antioxidant that improves immunity and tissue repair. It is also a source of vitamin K and several of the B vitamins. Tomato paste, per tablespoon, features .5 mg of iron as well, to help with proper red blood cell function. Tomato paste provides 162 mg of potassium per tablespoon to help your body regulate fluid and mineral stores.
The process of making tomato paste makes some of the antioxidants in tomatoes more bioavailable. Antioxidants are compounds that scavenge free radicals in the body associated with disease and aging. A study published in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” in May 2002 found that the manufacturing process of heating tomatoes elevated tomato’s total antioxidant activity, specifically one called lycopene. High intakes of tomato products containing lycopene correlate with decreased risk of prostate cancer.