Tomato salsa, if prepared using fresh ingredients and low salt, has several health benefits. Tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene. Lime and hot pepper also contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Because of the fresh ingredients, you can include tomato salsa as one of your suggested four vegetable servings per day. Just 1/4 cup of fresh tomato salsa counts as a single serving.
The sweet, juicy flesh of a fresh red tomato contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. For example, a single medium tomato contains as much as a quarter of your suggested daily vitamin C intake. Vitamin C helps you deal with infections, including gum disease. Fresh tomatoes also retain more of their natural vitamin content. For example, tomatoes processed and cooked at 190 degrees Fahrenheit for one-half hour lose 29 percent of their vitamin C content, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Lime and Jalapenos
Peppers such as jalapeno contain vitamins A, K and C, as well as folate and lutein. Vitamin A helps repair damaged cells and plays a role in keeping your eyesight sharp and skin healthy. Peppers also contain fiber. Fiber may help create soft, well-shaped stools that pass through your colon and prevent constipation. Lime juice has antioxidant properties and may act to prevent infections.
Though you can use other oils to bind your salsa and give it a smooth texture, olive oil offers some of the more obvious health benefits. For example, as the University of Michigan's Cardiovascular Center points out, many Mediterranean cultures have diets high in olive oil -- and much lower rates of heart disease. Olive oil contains mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fats, these forms may help lower cholesterol levels in the blood, reducing your risk of heart problems,
Fresh tomato salsa is rarely eaten on its own. Instead, it usually accompanies Mexican dishes such as fajitas, or features as a dip for chips or cut vegetables. So, you can easily counteract the positive properties of tomato salsa by eating it alongside a high-fat and salty food. Eating salsa as a dip with chopped carrots and celery, however, makes for a very healthy snack full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension; Health Benefits of Tomatoes; Cheryl Vasse; June 28, 2006
- Food Network; Tomato Salsa; Ellie Krieger; 2005
- Brown University: Food As Medicine -- Vegetables
- USDA National Nutrient Database
- University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center: Health Benefits of Olive Oil
- NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute; Peppers; 2011