Salty, chewy, flavorful… there’s a lot to love about sun-dried tomatoes. These satisfying little gems may taste good, but are they good for you? Let’s find out.
Are sun-dried tomatoes healthy?
Yes! Sun-dried tomatoes can be part of a healthy diet. They’re high in vitamin C, potassium, and other important nutrients.
Depending on the brand, though, they may be a high sodium food. If you’re sensitive to salt, it’s a good idea to be mindful of your portion size and read the nutrition labels on sun-dried tomato products.
Sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been harvested and dried in the sun. According to some sun-dried tomato manufacturers, this sun-drying process can take up to 10 days.
Once the tomatoes dry out, they take on a chewy texture and get even more flavorful than fresh tomatoes.
Sun-dried tomatoes can also last much longer at room temperature than fresh tomatoes, so they make a convenient pantry staple. Acidic products like sun-dried tomatoes can last up to 18 months in a cool, dry pantry.
Here’s the nutrition info for a 28-gram serving of sun-dried tomatoes:
- Calories: 72
- Protein: 4 grams
- Carbs: 15.6 grams
- Fiber: 3.4 grams
- Sodium: 30 milligrams
- Vitamin C: 11 milligrams
- Provitamin A: 12.4 micrograms
Sun-dried tomatoes are a good source of fiber and several vitamins and minerals, including provitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Just keep in mind that sun-dried tomatoes may be packed in oil, which can change their nutritional value.
Sun-dried tomatoes offer some impressive health benefits thanks to their high concentration of plant compounds, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Here’s what all that goodness can do for you.
Excellent source of health-protective plant compounds
Tomato products, including sun-dried tomatoes, are packed with plant compounds (like carotenoids) that could benefit your health in lots of ways.
Lycopene is a carotenoid that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research suggests that diets high in lycopene are associated with a lower risk of health conditions like metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
Lycopene may even help prevent certain cancers, although more research is needed.
Your body can’t make lycopene, so you need to get it through your diet on the reg. Tomatoes and tomato products are the main dietary source of lycopene, so bring on the sun-dried tomatoes!
Pro tip: Lycopene is a fat-soluble compound. That means enjoying sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil or adding some type of fat to your dish is a great way to enhance your body’s absorption of lycopene.
High in vitamins and minerals
Tomatoes are loaded with nutrients, but they’re especially high in certain important vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium).
Vitamin C helps support the health of your immune system, skin, and more. Plus, it functions as a potent antioxidant in your body. That means it helps protect your cells from oxidative damage that’s linked to lots of health effects.
Potassium is a mineral that’s involved in fluid regulation, muscle and nerve function, and blood pressure control.
Provitamin A is a type of vitamin A that’s found in plant foods. Provitamin A carotenoids, such as beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A in your body and play other important roles in health. Like vitamin C, provitamin A can help protect against oxidative stress.
But that’s not all. Sun-dried tomatoes also contain smaller amounts of other essential nutrients like magnesium, riboflavin, and iron.
Good source of fiber
Fiber is key in any healthy diet. Fruits, veggies, beans, and oats are some examples of fiber-rich foods.
Fiber helps keep your digestive system healthy and running smoothly and can even help you feel satisfied longer after meals. Diets high in fiber may help protect against heart disease, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions.
Most people in the United States don’t get enough dietary fiber. Adding fiber-rich foods like sun-dried tomatoes to your diet can help you meet the recommended fiber intake of 30 to 35 grams per day for men and 25 to 32 grams per day for women.
Even though sun-dried tomatoes can be a healthy addition to your diet, they can be a bit high in sodium, depending on the brand.
For example, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of Food to Live Organic Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Sea Salt contains just 70 milligrams of sodium, or 3% of the Daily Value (DV), while a 1/2-ounce (14-gram) serving of Fratelli Carli Sundried Tomatoes delivers 250 milligrams of sodium, or 11% of the DV.
A small amount of added salt isn’t a problem for most peeps, but folks with certain conditions (like high blood pressure) may benefit from limiting their intake.
Sun-dried tomatoes are a great ingredient to keep on hand.
Because they have more concentrated flavor than fresh tomatoes, they can add interest to dishes like pasta, grains, soups, and more.
Here are a few ways to use sun-dried tomatoes:
- Add them to pesto pasta.
- Add some pizzazz to baked chicken breast using this delish recipe.
- Mix them into savory bread dough along with basil and Parmesan.
- Toss chopped sun-dried tomatoes into frittatas and omelets.
- Add flavor to grain dishes like rice and quinoa.
- Whip up sun-dried tomato hummus for your next get-together.
- Try them in this vegan Sun-Dried Tomato White Bean Soup.
- Top your fave salad with chopped sun-dried tomatoes to add a burst of flavor.
Sun-dried tomatoes have a sweet and salty flavor that works perfectly in just about any savory dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this super tasty ingredient!
Sun-dried tomatoes are nutritious, versatile, and flavorful. They also have a long shelf life, which makes them a perfect pantry staple.
They’re high in lycopene, vitamin C, provitamin A, and potassium — plus, they’re a good source of fiber.
Try adding some sun-dried tomatoes to dishes like omelets, salads, soups, and grain bowls for a pop of flavor and a kick of extra nutrients.