Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for most deaths around the world. When it comes to battling this condition, proper nutrition is vital. Consumption of tomatoes might be one of the best cost-effective interventions.
Tomatoes are rich in nutrients that have a positive impact on our hearts. It is a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acids, beta-carotene, potassium, and lycopene.
Lycopene is the bright red carotene that gives tomatoes their color. It can also be found in other fruits and vegetables such as watermelon or red carrots. Tomatoes account for more than two-thirds of our lycopene consumption.
In a 2011 review of studies on lycopene and heart disease, published in Current Medicinal Chemistry, researchers have found that low-dose supplementation of lycopene can lower one’s risk of heart diseases. It works by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels and lowering down lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is when fats in the blood are damaged by oxygen and in excess can trigger gradual blocking of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
A research conducted by exerts also demonstrated the amazing effects of lycopene in the participants’ health. In this study, high lycopene consumption can help lower one’s risk of stroke by 65%.
Moreover, in a study published in the Blood Coagulation Fibrinolysis, results revealed that tomatoes contain phytonutrients that help reduce excessive platelet clumping, which can lead to unwanted clotting and blood vessel blockages.
Tomatoes are also rich in potassium, a mineral that promotes vasodilation, or widening of the blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure.
Heather Mangieri, a Pittsburgh-based registered dietitian, and nutritionist, health author and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says:
“A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of sodium’s harmful effects on blood pressure.”
A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that intake of 4,069 mg of potassium each day can help lower one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease by 37 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
Lastly, tomatoes’ vitamin C component also has positive effects on our heart health. A 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that participants with the highest vitamin C levels in their plasma had more reduced rates of heart diseases. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, keeps arteries more flexible, and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Overall these studies suggest that tomatoes are really good for the heart and can help improve our overall health. So, always make healthy lifestyle choices. Eating tomatoes is the better choice.
How To Enjoy Tomatoes’ Heart Benefits
- Mix diced tomatoes into favorite pasta sauce.
- Drink low-sodium tomato juice.
- Cook with tomato paste to add more flavor – and nutrients – to sauces.