Tomato juice has long been a popular beverage, prized for its rich flavor and potential health benefits. In recent years, cold pressed tomato juice has emerged as an even healthier option over traditional pasteurized tomato juice. But is cold pressed tomato juice truly good for you? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition, benefits, and downsides of this trendy drink.
What is Cold Pressed Tomato Juice?
Cold pressed tomato juice is made by pressing fresh, raw tomatoes to extract their liquid. This differs from regular tomato juice, which is made from cooked tomatoes and then usually pasteurized. The cold pressing process preserves more of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes naturally present in fresh tomatoes. It also yields a tomato juice with a thicker, richer texture and brighter, fresher tomato taste.
Nutrition Profile of Cold Pressed Tomato Juice
One 8 ounce glass of cold pressed tomato juice contains around:
- 45 calories
- 9 grams carbohydrates
- 2 grams protein
- 1 gram fiber
- 750 mg potassium (22% DV)
- 40 mg vitamin C (44% DV)
- 12 mcg vitamin A (15% DV)
- 1 mg iron (6% DV)
Cold pressed tomato juice is low in fat, protein and calories. Its biggest nutritional benefits come from its excellent vitamin and mineral content. Tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which gives them their rich red color. Lycopene has been linked to heart health, cancer prevention and protection against sun damage.
Benefits of Cold Pressed Tomato Juice
Here are some of the top evidence-based health benefits of drinking cold pressed tomato juice:
1. High in Antioxidants
In addition to lycopene, cold pressed tomato juice is high in other antioxidants like vitamin C, beta carotene and lutein. These compounds fight oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, protecting cells from damage.
2. May Boost Heart Health
Studies show that drinking tomato juice can decrease LDL “bad” cholesterol, blood pressure and platelet aggregation. This may be due to the combination of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C in tomato juice.
3. Anti-Cancer Properties
The lycopene in cold pressed tomato juice is linked to a lower risk of prostate, breast, lung and stomach cancers. Lycopene may stop the growth and spread of cancer cells.
4. May Reduce Inflammation
Tomato juice has anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking it is associated with lower markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
5. Supports Immunity
Cold pressed tomato juice provides around 40 mg vitamin C per 8 ounce serving. Vitamin C boosts the activity of white blood cells that protect the body from pathogens.
6. Helps Digestion
The fiber and liquid in tomato juice can help relieve constipation by promoting regular bowel movements. Tomatoes also contain carotenoids that may improve digestion.
The water content in tomato juice makes it great for hydration, especially in hot weather or after exercise when fluids need replenishing.
Downsides of Cold Pressed Tomato Juice
Cold pressed tomato juice has several advantages over regular tomato juice, but there are some potential downsides to consider as well:
1. High in Sugar and Carbs
There are around 9 grams of natural sugar and carbohydrates in an 8 ounce serving of cold pressed tomato juice. This is fine in moderation, but could be a problem for diabetics or those on a low carb diet.
Tomatoes are acidic, so cold pressed tomato juice has a low pH. This acidity could worsen symptoms in those with acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome.
3. Contains Solanine
Tomato leaves and stems contain the toxic glycoalkaloid solanine. Improper juicing techniques could transfer trace amounts of solanine into the tomato juice.
4. High in Salt if Store-Bought
Many commercial tomato juices have added salt, raising the sodium content. This may negatively affect blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals.
Making Your Own Cold Pressed Tomato Juice
It’s easy to make fresh, homemade cold pressed tomato juice with just a few simple steps:
- Wash and chop tomatoes into quarters.
- Pass the chopped tomatoes through a juicer.
- Pour the filtered tomato juice into a jar or bottle.
- Add seasonings like salt, pepper, hot sauce or fresh herbs.
- Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
When making your own cold pressed tomato juice at home, be sure to remove the stems which can impart bitterness. You can juice tomato pulp left over after juicing for extra yield. Combining tomato juice with vegetables like celery, carrots or spinach can create flavorful, nutrient-packed blends.
How Does It Compare to Regular Tomato Juice?
Cold pressed and regular tomato juice share the same key nutrients, but cold pressing maximizes the availability of certain heat-sensitive vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes. Here’s a comparison:
|Nutrient||Cold Pressed Tomato Juice (8 oz)||Regular Tomato Juice (8 oz)|
|Total Carbohydrates||9 grams||9 grams|
|Sugar||8 grams||8 grams|
|Fiber||1 gram||1 gram|
|Protein||2 grams||1 gram|
|Vitamin A||12 mcg (15% DV)||3 mcg (4% DV)|
|Vitamin C||40 mg (44% DV)||23 mg (26% DV)|
|Potassium||750 mg (22% DV)||558 mg (16% DV)|
As you can see, cold pressed tomato juice provides higher levels of heat-sensitive vitamins A and C. It also contains more protein. However, the differences are modest. Both types of tomato juice offer beneficial nutrients.
How to Include Cold Pressed Tomato Juice in Your Diet
Here are some tips for incorporating cold pressed tomato juice into your routine:
- Drink a small glass (4-8 oz) daily as an appetizer before meals.
- Use instead of other juices in smoothies and cocktails.
- Freeze into popsicles for a refreshing summer snack.
- Mix with spices and use as the base of a gazpacho soup or bloody mary.
- Pour over greens and feta cheese for an easy tomato juice salad.
- Stir into brown rice along with vegetables for a tomato-flavored rice bowl.
Be mindful of portion sizes, as the natural sugars can add up. Some people find drinking diluted cold pressed tomato juice easier on sensitive stomachs. But even just 4-6 ounces per day can provide antioxidants and nutrition.
Should You Drink Cold Pressed Tomato Juice?
Cold pressed tomato juice makes an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle. It provides hydration along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support your body in many ways. The cold pressing process preserves more nutrients compared to regular tomato juice, so cold pressed varieties are nutritionally superior.
However, tomato juice is not necessary or essential to obtain the benefits of tomatoes. You can also get lycopene, vitamin C and other nutrients from fresh tomatoes or cooked tomato sauces and dishes. Some people may need to watch their sugar or acid intake from drinking tomato juice as well.
Overall, cold pressed tomato juice is a tasty and convenient way to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption and fits into a balanced diet. As with any vegetable juice, enjoy in moderation while focusing on a variety of produce.