Superfood is a buzz-word in nutrition, which has been gaining popularity every day as consumers' preference shift to healthy foods. Superfood refers to a nutrient-rich food from either plants or animals considered to have health benefits when consumed.
Tomatoes are the most widely grown, and commonly consumed vegetables worldwide. They are a critical ingredient in most popular foods, as they can be easily incorporated into any dish. In Zimbabwe, a meal without tomatoes is incomplete. Tomatoes are highly nutrient-dense, with an array of minerals such as calcium and potassium as well as vitamins A, C, and K. In addition, they contain an up-and-coming powerhouse nutrient, lycopene, which has an impressive spectrum of health benefits. Lycopene is a fat-soluble pigment carotenoid and powerful antioxidant, not only responsible for the attractive red colour of tomatoes but also has disease-fighting power.
Daily intake of tomatoes and tomato products containing this lycopene helps to prevent the development of various types of cancers which include stomach, colon, prostate and neurodegenerative cancers. Moreover, It improves heart problems and is beneficial to eyesight, as well as problems related to age. Furthermore, this lycopene antioxidant has the capacity to keep the skin young and hydrated.
Since lycopene is fat-soluble, it is best absorbed by the body if processed into ketchup, tomato paste and sauce, or when eaten with some source of oil such as olive and coconut oils. Its more beneficial chemicals are released during the heating process, creating higher concentrations of it. Interestingly, research shows that when tomatoes are dried they contain 20% more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Basically, raw tomatoes have around 35-38% of lycopene and the content in dried tomatoes ranges from 55% to 60%.
Thus, Chashi Foods is motivated to process raw tomatoes into different dried tomato products. Some of these include our spiced tomatoes in olive oil, amongst others. We are committed to meeting the health needs of our consumers every day for a healthier, happier Zimbabwe.