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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Tomato Salsa Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Is Tomato Salsa Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Wendy Lord, RD
Written by Wendy Lord, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 28, 2023
6 min read 954 Views 0 Comments
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Salsa is a condiment of Mexican origin that is enjoyed by people around the world. We looked at the nutritional facts and health benefits of salsa to see if it is healthy.

is salsa healthy

Tomato salsa is often served on snacks like nachos, but more and more people are asking if it is healthy.

The answer depends on the ingredients in your store-bought or homemade salsa recipe. Ingredients typically include a combination of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, and peppers, as well as spices and fresh herbs to add flavor.

As a result, salsa can be a healthy condiment to enjoy with your favorite foods. Eating salsa can increase your intake of vitamin C and other important nutrients and may provide many health benefits.

In this article, we will explore the health benefits of tomato salsa and show you why it is a fantastic addition to your diet.

Is Tomato Salsa Healthy?

Yes, salsa is healthy. Since salsa is made from fresh plant-based ingredients, it contains a wealth of nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

With the main ingredient being tomatoes, salsa is an excellent source of various vitamins, including vitamin C, minerals such as potassium, unsaturated fatty acids, and health-promoting plant chemicals.

Therefore, salsa may provide several health benefits to your body.

What Is Salsa? 

The word “salsa” is the Spanish word for sauce. When people talk about this condiment, they generally mean tomato salsa, which is made with tomatoes and onions. It adds flavor to a wide variety of foods, from tacos to scrambled eggs to grilled fish, such as pollock, tuna, and haddock.

Salsa could not only be made from tomatoes. Although it’s usually a combination of chopped fresh vegetables, it can also include a variety of fruit such as mango and pineapple. 

The addition of herbs and spices to fresh salsa changes the flavor to suit your taste preferences or to complement any dish you are eating.

How Is Salsa Made? 

There are many homemade salsa recipes available online. Some call for salsa to be made from raw, fresh ingredients, while others call for vegetables to be cooked. 

A basic recipe for fresh salsa involves chopping fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, chilies, and cilantro and mixing them with lime juice and salt.

5 Health Benefits of Tomato Salsa

Eating tomatoes is associated with many health benefits. It’s a great source of vitamin C and vitamin E and an easy way to add potassium-rich vegetables to your diet.

Because of this, eating salsa may provide numerous health benefits, including improving brain and heart health and preventing disease. Here are 5 of the most important health benefits of this spice.

#1 Lowering LDL-cholesterol

Tomatoes contain plant chemicals called phytosterols, which have been shown to prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL-cholesterol. Therefore, salsa and other cholesterol-lowering foods, such as avocados, can help prevent and manage heart disease. 

#2 Cancer prevention

There are numerous bioactive compounds in tomatoes that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, including ꞵ-carotene, vitamin C, and lycopene. They help to prevent cell damage in the body.

Research also shows that lycopene can reduce the risk of various types of cancer, including prostate, breast, pancreatic, colorectal, and bladder cancers.

#3 Manage high blood pressure

The nutrient composition of tomatoes has also been extensively studied in relation to their effects on blood pressure. 

Quercetin, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, has been shown to lower blood pressure. Additionally, tomatoes are a good source of potassium, which is an important mineral for maintaining healthy blood pressure.

#4 Eye health

Antioxidants found in tomatoes, including lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, promote eye health. Studies show that there is a reduced risk of developing conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, when your diet is rich in these plant chemicals. 

#5 Improved body fluid balance

Salsa is also a source of vital minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, that ensure fluid balance and water is properly distributed throughout the body. 

Possible Side Effects of Salsa

Some people are sensitive to salsa ingredients, and when they eat salsa, they experience side effects. The list below outlines some of the most common side effects of eating salsa:

  • Heartburn: Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the stomach and esophagus, causing heartburn. People with stomach ulcers may also find that eating salsa causes a significant amount of stomach pain.
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort: Tomatoes contain several different acids, including citric acid, which can trigger the release of too much gastric acid in the stomach. As a result, some people experience stomach pain, gas, and bloating when they eat salsa.
  • Allergic reactions: Salsa ingredients may cause allergic reactions in some people. Tomatoes, onions, chili, and bell peppers are common allergens used to make salsa.
  • Food poisoning: If stored incorrectly, like any other perishable food, bacteria can grow in salsa and cause food poisoning. It is important to check the best-before date on store-bought salsa to ensure that it is still safe to eat.
  • Increased sodium intake: Store-bought salsa, like most processed foods, frequently has a high sodium content, which reduces the potential benefits of eating salsa. 

Nutrition Facts of Salsa 

Adding salsa to your meals and snacks adds more than a mouthwatering flavor. It adds extra nutritional value to your food, too, including vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. 

Nutritional value (per 100g) 

Calories/ Nutrient (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)29
Net Carbs (g)4.94
Fiber (g)1.8
Sugar (g)3.81
Fats (Total)0.19
Protein (g)1.44
Sodium (mg)656

Low in calories 

Fresh salsa is low in calories, making it a flavorful addition to your weight loss diet. Instead of eating unhealthy calories from creamy or sugar-filled sauces, you can serve cooked or fresh salsa with meat, fish, or chicken without slowing down your weight loss.

Low in proteins 

Salsa has a low protein content, making it an ideal addition to a meaty meal. However, it is a source of 17 amino acids, including leucine, lysine, and arginine, which are essential amino acids. 

Low in fats 

Contributing to the low calorie content of tomatoes is their low fat content. Salsa contains less than 1g of fat per 100g. 

Rich in minerals and vitamins 

The many health benefits of tomato and onion salsa can be attributed to its high nutritional value. It is a rich source of a variety of vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins. It also provides minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium.

Moderate amount of sodium 

The amount of sodium in salsa depends on how it is made. Fresh salsa made from scratch has a moderate amount of sodium, which is naturally found in tomatoes. However, it is a good idea to check the sodium content of store-bought salsas, especially if you have high blood pressure.

Picante vs. Salsa 

 SalsaPicante
IngredientsTomatoes, onions, peppers, chili, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepperTomatoes, onions, chili, garlic, vinegar, and sugar
TasteFresh, slightly sweet, and zestyHot and spicy
TextureChunky and thickThin and smooth
PreparationChopped fresh, raw vegetables mixed togetherVegetables are cooked

Homemade Salsa Recipe 

Homemade tomato salsa is quick and easy to make, nutritious, and weight loss friendly. But the best salsa recipes use only the freshest, healthiest ingredients.

If you’re in doubt about the quality of the recipes you use, nutrition apps are a useful tool to help ensure you are cooking meals that suit your nutritional requirements. 

Ingredients 

6 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

½ onion, very finely chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 small garlic clove, crushed

½ lime, juiced

½ bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Directions 

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. 

FAQs 

Is salsa fattening?

No, salsa is not fattening. However, it is frequently served with food, such as nachos, tacos, and chips which are high in calories and may contribute to weight gain.

Is salsa good for weight loss?

Yes, salsa is good for weight loss. It is low in calories, with only 29 calories per 100g, and low in carbohydrates, fat, and protein. This condiment is an ideal alternative to high-calorie creamy or cheesy sauces if you are trying to lose weight.

Is salsa gluten-free?

Salsa is usually gluten-free. However, some store-bought salsas may contain wheat-based thickeners. Therefore, if you are gluten intolerant, you must read the list of ingredients on the label.

How long is salsa good for after opening?

An open jar of salsa must be kept in the fridge, and you should consume it within 5–7 days to avoid spoiling.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Eating salsa made from fresh vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and peppers is a great way to add flavor and nutrients to your diet.

The vitamins, minerals, and bioactive plant chemicals called phytonutrients found in tomatoes provide numerous health benefits due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Watery foods like fresh salsa contain important minerals that can help maintain the body’s fluid balance for optimal hydration. In addition, the potassium in tomatoes can help lower your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure.

The powerful antioxidants in tomatoes make salsa a healthy condiment with cancer-fighting properties. These nutrients also promote eye and brain health and help prevent heart disease.

Instead of snacking on creamy dips that lack nutritional value, make a batch of salsa to serve with your party snacks. It also adds great flavor and crunch to your meals.

Conclusion

Salsa is undeniably healthy, especially when you make it yourself. If you enjoy this condiment and don’t experience any side effects from eating it, you can enjoy it with your snacks and meals every day.

Written by Wendy Lord, RD
Wendy is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for writing about nutrition, health, and medicine. Her aim is to translate the medical jargon to make information accessible to everyone so that they can make informed decisions about their health.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Wendy Lord, RD
Written by Wendy Lord, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 28, 2023
6 min read 954 Views 0 Comments
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