Tomatoes may help ward off heart disease

Tomatoes provide protection against heart disease, according to University of Adelaide researchers. Credit: iStock.

(Medical Xpress) -- A University of Adelaide study has shown that tomatoes may be an effective alternative to medication in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, thus preventing cardiovascular disease.

A paper published by Dr. Karin Ried in the international journal Maturitas reveals that a bright red pigment called lycopene found in and to a lesser extent in watermelon, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and rosehip has antioxidant properties that are vital to good health.

Dr. Ried and her colleague Dr. Peter Fakler from the Discipline of General Practice are the first to summarise the effect of lycopene on cholesterol and , analysing the collective results of 14 studies in the last 55 years.

"Our study suggests that if more than 25 milligrams of lycopene is taken daily, it can reduce LDL-cholesterol by up to 10%," Dr. Ried says.

Tomatoes in particular have high levels of lycopene, with half a liter of tomato juice taken daily, or 50 grams of tomato paste, providing protection against heart disease.

"That's comparable to the effect of low doses of medication commonly prescribed for people with slightly elevated cholesterol, but without the side effects of these drugs, which can include muscle pain and weakness and ."

Dr. Ried says lycopene is better absorbed in processed and cooked tomatoes or tomato paste rather than fresh tomatoes. As a supplement, lypocene is available in soft gelatine capsules or tablets.

"Research shows that high lycopene consumption has been associated with a decreased , including hardened arteries, heart attacks and strokes."

Dr. Ried says more research is needed to explore whether doses higher than 25-44 milligrams of lypocene a day provide additional benefits.

The study was funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing.

Dr. Ried and her colleagues have received international recognition for other clinical studies which show the benefits of both garlic and dark chocolate in helping to lower blood pressure.

Related Stories

Tangerine tomatoes surpass reds

Feb 02, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Besides their appealing orange color and sweet flavor, there's another reason to give tangerine tomatoes a try this year. A one-month study led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists ...

Tomatoes found to fight sun damage

Apr 28, 2008

Tomatoes could be the new weapon in the fight against sun damage to the skin, research at the Universities of Newcastle and Manchester has revealed. According to a study presented at the British Society for Investigative ...

Unique tomatoes tops in disease-fighting antioxidants

Feb 27, 2007

Deep red tomatoes get their rich color from lycopene, a disease-fighting antioxidant. A new study, however, suggests that a special variety of orange-colored tomatoes provide a different form of lycopene, one that our bodies ...

Recommended for you

Gene variant raises risk for aortic tear and rupture

13 hours ago

Researchers from Yale School of Medicine and Celera Diagnostics have confirmed the significance of a genetic variant that substantially increases the risk of a frequently fatal thoracic aortic dissection or full rupture. ...

Considerable variation in CT use in ischemic stroke

14 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For patients with ischemic stroke there is considerable variation in the rates of high-intensity computed tomography (CT) use, according to a study published online April 8 in Circulation: Ca ...

Beating the clock for ischemic stroke sufferers

23 hours ago

A ground-breaking computer technology raises hope for people struck by ischemic stroke, which is a very common kind of stroke accounting for over 80 per cent of overall stroke cases. Developed by research experts at The Hong ...

Risk for nonelective thoracic aortic sx up for uninsured

Apr 16, 2014

(HealthDay)—Uninsured patients have an increased risk of nonelective thoracic aortic operations, and have increased risks of major morbidity or mortality, according to a study published online April 8 in ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zbarlici
not rated yet May 18, 2011
tomatoes picked off the vine while they are still green? Yah, didn`t think so.