The powerful tomato: photo by Toni Lydecker via sallybernstein.com There have been several recent studies about the health benefits of tomatoes and tomato products. That bright red pigment called lycopene has been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. But a comprehensive report by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia delves deep into 14 of those studies to find clinical evidence of the exact amounts required in our daily diets.
Doctors Karin Ried and Peter Fakler from the Discipline of General Practice at the university published a summary of the effects of lycopene in the journal Maturitas that is based on 14 clinical studies conducted during the last 55 years. Their conclusion is that somewhere between 25 and 44 milligrams of lycopene can do as much to lower cholesterol as the most common medications for the disease - at least those medications that are prescribed for persons with moderately high cholesterol values.
The cholesterol medications, according to the doctors, can cause muscle pain and weakness, whereas lycopene has no side effects. Plus, if you take your lycopene in tomato sauce or paste, mix it with a bit of garlic and basil, it tastes fantastic! As a plus, you can enjoy bits of the lycopenein your watermelon, guava papaya, pink grapefruit, and rosehip tea.
Fruits high in lycopene High cholesterol and high blood pressure are the two biggest risks for heart disease and stroke. Lycopene not only reduces the risk of these diseases by up to 10 percent, but it is also high in anti-oxidants, fighting disease as well as sun damage. Processed tomatoes are absorbed more easily than fresh tomatoes, so
paste, cooked tomatoes, or tomato juice are good choices. Lycopene
supplements are also widely available.
The next step for the Ried and Fakler team is to find out if amounts higher than 25 - 44 milligrams of daily lycopene provide even greater health benefits.
source: University of Adelaide via MedicalXpress