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ASK THE EXPERTS

Are canned tomatoes healthy?

Are canned tomatoes healthy?

Q. “Are canned tomatoes as good for me as fresh ones? Can I substitute the canned variety for fresh tomatoes in recipes?”

Bob

A. Canned tomatoes are convenient, inexpensive and useful, especially when tomatoes aren’t in season over winter. Nutrition-wise, canned tomatoes are similar to fresh tomatoes, and have the advantage of being higher in lycopene, an antioxidant which is in cooked tomato products.

Canned tomatoes, however, may be high in sodium, so check the nutrition panel. When it comes to cooking, canned tomatoes won’t replace fresh tomatoes in every dish, but in cooked dishes such as pasta sauces they are fine. Canned tomatoes can sometimes have a thin or metallic taste due to the fact  the tomatoes are cooked. Balance this taste out in sauces and casseroles (see Hearty chicken and vege casserole recipe) by adding some honey or sugar, and tomato paste.

First published: Jun 2010

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