While there may be quite a few substitutes to tomatoes, some of these options can be considered if you want to make changes to your daily consumption, suggests Sheetal Somaiya.
Tomatoes are a versatile and wholesome fruit that give a variety of foods an instant flavour boost.
However, with price of tomatoes hitting the roof, homemakers and chefs are now looking for substitutes that can fulfil the same function while being more affordable.
While there may be quite a few substitutes to tomatoes, some of these options can be considered if you want to make changes to your daily consumption:
1. Red Bell Pepper
They are a wonderful alternative to tomatoes because they are colourful and tasty. They contain almost three times more vitamin C than oranges.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, aiding in collagen production, and supporting a healthy immune system.
Red bell peppers are primarily rich in capsanthin, a powerful antioxidant which gives them the bright red colour.
Other antioxidants in red bell pepper are lycopene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They are also rich in vitamin A and B6.
B6 may improve neurotransmitter systems as it plays a role in the synthesis of GABA, dopamine, serotonin and noradrenalin.
Beetroot has a delicious earthy flavour and a stunning crimson tint. It contains iron, an important mineral that plays a key role in the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
Iron is a vital component of haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to tissues and organs.
Nitrates in beetroot and beetroot juice are converted to nitric oxide in the body which play a key role in muscle contraction, increasing blood flow and energy efficiency.
In addition, to iron, and antioxidants, beetroot contains other essential vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C.
Papaya is a great source of vitamin C and A.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, it is essential for collagen synthesis to support healthy skin, blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments, plays a vital role in immune function and helps in wound healing.
Vitamin A is present in the form of beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and is important for maintaining healthy eyesight, especially in low-light conditions. It also supports the health of the skin and mucous membranes, enhancing their protective functions.
Guava is also a good source of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and dietary fibre.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function.
Vitamin B6 is involved in various metabolic processes and supports brain health.
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps maintain proper fluid balance and supports heart health.
Additionally, guava offers a natural source of lysine, an essential amino acid for protein synthesis.
With their vivid orange colour and crisp texture, carrots are a flexible substitute for tomatoes.
They include beta-carotene, which the body transforms into vitamin A to support immunity and eye health.
Additionally high in fibre, carrots help maintain a healthy digestive function.
They are a great source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, supports immune function, and aids in collagen synthesis.
Vitamin K, on the other hand, is important for blood clotting and bone health.
Consuming pomegranates can contribute to your daily intake of these essential vitamins.
7. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, such as polyphenols and flavonoids.
These compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
When seeking substitutes for tomatoes, there are several options available that can add flavour, colour, and texture to your dishes.
By experimenting with these substitutes, you can still enjoy delicious meals even when tomatoes are not an option.
Sheetal Somaiya is a Senior Nutritionist, Superfoods Valley: Nutrition & Food Tech Co.
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Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com
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