Spaghetti sauce is delicious and it turns out it can be quite good for you. It's one of the best sources of lycopene, a nutrient found abundantly in cooked tomatoes.
The stuff you make it home is much better than what you could buy at the grocery store. The depth of flavor and the slow cooking makes a huge difference.
Lycopene Is The Key
Lycopene is a fantastic antioxidant. Yet, the greatest source is in cooked tomatoes. That makes spaghetti sauce perfect for getting a great dose of lycopene.
In some studies, lycopene slows down the growth of cancers of the breast, prostate, kidneys, and lung. It seems especially potent against prostate cancer, with men consuming two servings of lycopene-rich tomato sauce being 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Overall, lycopene's effect on your heart happens over the long term. It has a fairly significant impact on metabolic disease, which includes high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Improve your eyesight
One of the most noted uses of lycopene is helping reduce cataracts and macular degeneration. It's one of the leading causes of blindness in adults.
Some small studies show lycopene may help reduce pain caused by nerves and tissue damage. It can also tie into the way it helps reduce heart disease by reducing oxidative damage and increasing circulation.
Protects the brain
If you have seizures or are at risk of dementia, lycopene can be a great benefit. Once a week, consuming cook tomatoes may help reduce your chances of experiencing either of these issues.
Your bones are continuously replacing themselves, with osteoblasts breaking down your bones and osteoclasts building bone. Lycopene helps reduce the amount the osteoblasts remove, helping bones stay stronger.
May Help Protect You Against Sunburn
This one's a little bit less proven, but some preliminary research shows lycopene and other carotenoid vitamins can help reduce do you read damage done to your skin by the sun. It's not going to prevent a sunburn, but it might help reduce your pain.
How To Make Your Spaghetti Sauce Healthier
We have a basic recipe below.
This recipe calls for Italian sausage, something that has pork and lots of fats in it. The type of sausage you choose can dictate how healthy it is.
Are you choosing a freshly made one that has lots of herbs and spices and better quality meat? Or are you choosing something mass-produced and full of chemicals?
Choosing healthier sausages can make a huge difference in your sauce. Even if you don't have an Italian butcher around, having a local butcher that makes healthy, fresh sausage is much better than picking up a mass-produced one at the grocery store.
If you don't like pork, you could always choose beef or chicken. It'll change the flavor of the sauce, so you can find what you like. Even eliminating the meat can still give you a rich sauce, but you will need to add more butter and olive oil to make up for the lost fat.
You can add lots of different vegetables to increase the nutrition. Mushrooms are a very common addition. Fresh portobello, rich shiitake, or any number of mushrooms can add much more flavor.
You can have other vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, peppers, fennel, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, and olives. You can substitute carrots for the sugar, with the carrots adding a little bit of sweetness and earthy flavor to the spaghetti sauce.
Try this sauce and taste the difference!
Basic Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
1 Pound Ground Italian Sausage
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
15 Ounces Tomato Sauce
6 Ounces Tomato Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Water
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves (Optional)
In a large skillet, add the meat and chopped onion and brown. Drain two-thirds of grease.
Add meat and rest of ingredients (minus water) to large stock pot and stir well.
Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Add water and stir well.
Reduce heat, add water (if needed), and stir well.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add chopped basil before serving, if desired.