Health Benefits of Ketchup and Tomato Sauce

April 14, 2016 | By

A bottle of ketchup can be found lurking in most kitchen cupboards. It has become an essential store cupboard stock item and is one of the few condiments that is likely to be used before the ‘best before date’ elapses. It is simply a great ‘must have’ as a dollop of gaudy red ketchup will enliven the taste and add color to the blandest looking plate of food.

Heinz Ketchup is one of the most famous brands of ketchup and for this reason many people believe that ketchup originated in North America; surprisingly ketchup dates back to the 17th century in the Far East. The Chinese developed a ‘koe-chiap’ or ‘kechiap’ brine juice with spices and fish juice that they used to pickle their fish in. The Malayan word for the sauce was ‘kechap’ which evolved to the more familiar word we know today, ‘ketchup’ or ‘catsup’.

Ketchup has a universal appeal, kids love it, adults have grown up with it and yet the question remains, ‘should we really be serving this food that is supposedly full of additives?’ The answer is that whilst most ready made ketchup varieties do contain certain preservatives, the base ingredient of tomatoes contain lycopene; research from the University of Carolina shows that the body will absorb lycopene in cooked tomato products more easily if they contain fat as the lycopene is fat soluble.

Lycopene is a carotenoid that as well as giving tomatoes their bright red color also acts as an anti-oxidant.

Anti-oxidants have some very clever properties some of which can help lower cholesterol, help to fight the cancer forming free radicals, reduce risk of diabetes, cataracts and gum disease, fights osteoporosis, aids anti-aging and helps to improve male fertility.

A list like this is sounds very impressive, so would adding a bottle of ketchup to the diet every day really work? The answer is all food and drink should be taken in moderation; any overdose of one particular food group would upset the balance of the body but what would be a health benefit is to add ketchup to stews, soups, sauces and relishes on a daily basis, especially if the ketchup is homemade.

Ketchup can be squirted out of a squeezy bottle or served in a delicate china dish but how ketchup is used depends on the individual. It is a well known fact that ketchup is the usual accompaniment for burgers, fries, chips, bacon, sausages and generally foods which are high in fat thus ketchup is associated with unhealthy foods and it too is thought to be unhealthy. Provided you choose your ketchup carefully it can be an easy health benefit to include in your daily diet.

The best ketchup for maximum health benefits is home-made closely followed by the organic ketchups. Opt for an organic brand of the darkest red as this means it has a higher concentration of lycopenes and enjoy it next time you ‘slather’ it on your food.

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Category: Food

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