You can find tomatoes in foods like ketchup, pizza, pasta, and some beverages. Considered a fruit and a vegetable, the tomato has become an integral part of cuisines across the globe. For many nations, tomatoes are considered to be a staple food because it is easy to cultivate and it grows quickly, thus making them a great food source.
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are believed to be native in Mexico. They have a slightly sweet taste, soft, pinkish, round red fruits as well as a number of seeds.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, tomatoes have dietary fiber, protein, and organic compounds like lycopene. They are rich in vitamin A, C, K, and B6. Moreover, tomatoes also have impressive amounts of copper, folate, potassium, thiamin, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. All of these contribute to its health benefits.
Lycopene And Heart Health
A study revealed that throwing up a few slices of organic tomatoes in your meals can help provide added heart health for you. Its lycopene content, which is a carotenoid antioxidant, was found to greatly reduce a person’s risk for stroke.
You might just want to slice up a few extra organic tomatoes every day and throw them in your meals for added heart health, based on the findings of a new study published in the journal Neurology.
Researchers out of Finland recently discovered that lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant prominently found in red fruits and vegetables, and particularly in tomatoes, may help to dramatically reduce stroke risk in a way never before recognized.
Researchers from Finland investigated how the antioxidants in tomatoes such as retinol, alpha-tocopherol, alpha-carotene, and beta carotene, can affect stroke risk.
After tracking the blood levels of lycopene of more than 1,000 men between the ages of 46 and 55 for 12 years, the team of Jouni Karppi and his colleagues at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) found that men with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood were 55 percent less likely to experience a stroke compared to those with the lower levels.
Lycopene was found to be good for eyesight, sunburns, as well as for some types of cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. This study that was published in the journal Neurology, lycopene stood out as the most effective antioxidant promoter of heart health. Moreover, the researchers also observed that lycopene have a stronger effect on strokes caused by blood clots as the data showed that men with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood were 59 percent less likely to experience a blood clot-related stroke compared to those with the lower levels.
Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health commented that:
“The shape of the lycopene molecule makes it very effective in being able to quench free radicals. We don’t really understand it entirely yet, but lycopene may have specific properties that protect the cell in a way other antioxidants may not.”
Due to the findings, Karppi said that:
“I recommend that people eat fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, regularly. The consumption of vegetables is good for your health anyway, in addition to whatever protection it offers against stroke.”