Tomato sauce is the most commonly consumed processed tomato product worldwide, but very little is known about how the manufacturing process may affect the phenolic composition and bioavailability after consumption. In a prospective randomised, cross-over intervention study, we analysed the plasma and urinary levels of tomato phenolic compounds and their metabolites after acute consumption of raw tomatoes and tomato sauce, enriched or not with refined olive oil during production. Respectively, eleven and four phenolic metabolites were found in urine and plasma samples. The plasma concentration and urinary excretion of naringenin glucuronide were both significantly higher after the consumption of tomato sauce than raw tomatoes. The results suggest that the mechanical and thermal treatments during tomato sauce manufacture may help to deliver these potentially bioactive phenolics from the food matrix more effectively than the addition of an oil component, thus increasing their bioavailability.
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