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Fresh vegetables can be troublesome to purchase, prepare and store, and sun-dried tomatoes are convenient alternatives to help you meet your recommended daily vegetable servings. Although they may seem like gourmet items, sun-dried tomatoes are readily available and easy to use straight from the bag. Eating this nutrient-dense food can make your overall diet healthier.
Lower Blood Pressure
A half-cup of sun-dried tomatoes counts as a full cup of raw or cooked vegetables, according to the USDA. Sun-dried tomatoes can fit into a high-potassium, low-sodium diet to help prevent or lower high blood pressure. Each half-cup of sun-dried tomatoes contains 926 milligrams of potassium, or 26 percent of the daily value, and only 66 milligrams of sodium, or 3 percent of the daily value. High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and kidney disease.
Prevent Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Each half-cup of sun-dried tomatoes provides 2.5 milligrams of iron, or 14 percent of the daily value. Iron is a mineral in hemoglobin, which is the component of red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells in your body. Severe iron deficiency can lead to anemia and symptoms of fatigue, muscle weakness and frequent infections. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from plant-based foods, such as tomatoes. A half-cup of sun-dried tomatoes has 11 milligrams of vitamin C, or 17 percent of the daily value.
Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Eating sun-dried tomatoes can help reduce your total and LDL cholesterol levels and your risk of developing heart disease. A 2-ounce serving of sun-dried tomatoes provides 3 grams of dietary fiber, or 14 percent of the daily value. A high-fiber diet can help lower your unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels. Dietary cholesterol and saturated fat raise your LDL cholesterol, and sun-dried tomatoes are cholesterol-free and almost free from saturated fat.
Sun-dried tomatoes are common pizza toppings. You can add them to salads and use them to make bruschetta with variations using additional ingredients such as feta cheese or chicken. You can use sun-dried tomatoes to increase the acidity in pesto, hummus and other condiments, and toss them into pasta dishes to add a chewy texture. Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil are higher in calories and fat than sun-dried tomatoes without oil, making them less healthy if you are watching your weight.