Mediterranean Diet Olive Oil and Tomato Paste Spread
I use olive oil and tomato a lot in my cooking. I do believe in their health benefits and I know they taste great together.
I have read that the benefits of tomatoes in a concentrated form are best. Things like ketchup and reduced sauces have more of the good stuff than just eating a tomato.
Processing of tomatoes to form tomato paste increases the amount of cis-lycopene. The smaller structure of the cis-lycopene isomer allows for easier absorption in the small intestine compared to all-trans lycopene. This means that when you eat tomato paste, more of the kinked form of lycopene accumulates in the body compared to its straight counterpart.
The tomato also has a lot to offer. This is from superfoodsrx.com
Tomatoes are one of the primary plant-based dietary sources of beta-carotene, an extraordinary carotenoid with the ability to be converted into active vitamin A. A crucial component for healthy bone and reproductive development, vitamin A also helps maintain skin’s youthful appearance by increasing cell synthesis and turnover as well as stimulating collagen production.
Lycopene, another natural and powerful carotenoid found in tomatoes, effectively eliminates damaging free radicals like singlet oxygen. It also can raise the natural sun protection factor (SPF) of your skin. A study with 50 trials conducted by three prominent British psychologists, Stephen, Coetzee, and Perrett, found that participants consistently preferred the skin tone and texture of faces reflecting the effects of carotenoids.
Don’t let tomatoes’ short-season discourage you from including them in your diet. Tomatoes’ full nutritional value is found in processed versions available all year long, such as soups, sauces, and juices. In fact, studies show that tomato paste has four times the amount of lycopene found in whole raw tomatoes.
and olive oil...
In order to take complete advantage of tomatoes’ impressive qualities, pair them with the flavorful SuperFood, extra virgin olive oil. Not only does heart healthy EVOO protect cells against damage and inflammation and promote healthy skin from the inside out, but it also helps ensure the absorption of these fat-soluble carotenoids.
Ok so how to add this to a diet?
I played around a bit with the idea to make something fast and easy and with no cooking.
Here is a super simple way to combine the benefits of both.
Mix equal parts of olive oil and tomato paste and salt to taste.
Start with 1 tablespoon of both in a bowl and just use a small spoon to mix it up.
The salt will cut the concentrated flavors a little but try just a pinch at first.
You could add sweetener but that starts to take away the purpose of the spread.
I think the 1:1 ratio with a little salt tastes fine.
Give it a try!
FYI olive oil has about 120 calories per tablespoon.