Why processed tomatoes?
It's nearly the perfect food for iron fortification! Hematologists and public health experts say that processed tomatoes, such as tomato paste, are the ideal delivery system for iron for two important reasons:
1. Tomatoes contain ascorbic acid, which improves iron absorption
2. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which improves immunity to disease
Experts also agree that a consistent, low-dose of iron routinely consumed (10-15 mg/serving) is the preferred method, since the body only absorbs small amounts of iron at a time. Low dosages should also eliminate risk of toxicity, even for children. The successful iron-fortified supplement for children, Sprinkles, contains 12.5 mg/serving of iron.
Who eats processed tomatoes?
Much of the world, but especially people in Africa. In Nigeria alone, which is the most populous country on the African continent, and 7th, worldwide, the processed tomato market is estimated at U.S. $1.8 billion! They consume, on average, the equivalent of 54 cans of tomato paste per person per year, which equals around 3 servings per week. And, with ever increasing urbanization worldwide, the consumption of processed tomatoes is rising twice as fast as fresh tomatoes.
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