OMAHA, Neb., March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the American Dietetic Association kicks off National Nutrition Month®, ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) one of North America's leading food makers, reminds people to "Eat Right with Color" by enjoying Hunt's® tomatoes as part of a healthful, nutrient-rich diet. Tomatoes are America's favorite non-starchy vegetable and account for 85 percent of the lycopene consumed in the U.S.
Eating more tomatoes and tomato products can make people healthier and help decrease the risk of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, according to a review article published in the March issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The article was co-authored by ConAgra Foods' Nutrition Manager Kristin Reimers, Ph.D. and R.D.
"Tomatoes contain high levels of the powerful antioxidant lycopene and canned products such as tomato paste, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce have approximately seven times more lycopene than raw tomatoes,"(1) Reimers said. "In addition, tomatoes serve as a significant source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium in the American diet."
Both potassium and fiber are underconsumed nutrients, and according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, consuming more of these nutrients could improve people's health. Calorie for calorie, tomatoes contain more than twice the potassium of other common sources such as bananas, potatoes, milk and orange juice. Also, one cup of pasta sauce contains 6.5 grams of fiber, approximately the same amount of fiber as one cup of whole wheat spaghetti(2), with studies showing that people who eat tomato products average a 30 percent higher fiber intake than those who don't consume tomatoes regularly. (3)
"At a time when consumers are as concerned about getting the most for their grocery dollar as they may be about their long-term health, products like Hunt's canned tomatoes can help people balance value with nutrition," Reimers said. "Encouraging greater tomato consumption may help increase overall vegetable intake since canned tomatoes, such as Hunt's, are readily available year-round, widely accepted by consumers, convenient and economical."
Because of the tomato's nutritive value and popularity, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines define a new red-orange vegetable sub-group that provides a greater focus on tomatoes. This guideline can be easily met by consuming just one more half-cup serving of tomatoes each day.
Hunt's tomatoes are available in many varieties, including No Salt Added options, making it easy to incorporate the health benefits of tomatoes into your daily meals. Only Hunt's uses the natural FlashSteam® process to lock in natural tomato goodness of every tomato in Diced, Whole and Stewed varieties.
About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG), is one of North America's leading food companies, with brands in 97 percent of America's households. Consumers find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
(1) U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22, 2009. Lycopene content per serving: 18.84 mg per 1/4 cup tomato paste; 17.12 mg per 1/2 cup tomato sauce; 15.82 mg per 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce; 2.32 mg per 1/2 cup raw tomatoes.
(2) U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Fiber content 6.5 grams per 1 cup pasta or marinara sauce; 6.3 grams per 1 cup cooked whole wheat spaghetti.
(3) Victor Fulgoni, Debra Keast, Kristin Reimers, Patty Packard. Tomato consumption is associated with improved diet quality and lower C-reactive protein in adults. J Am Diet Assoc (2008):108(9):S3:A-27.
SOURCE ConAgra Foods, Inc.