A new Finnish study has found that including tomato products such as tomato sauce and tomato juice in one’s diet could help to cut LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 13%.
The study was conducted on 21 healthy volunteers, supports the body of research that reports the health benefits of tomato and tomato products.
Including tomato sauce in one’s daily diet was shown to attack bad cholesterol in the blood. Bad cholesterol in the blood is linked to heart disease and strokes.
Volunteers were given a few glasses of tomato juice and they also added a few dollops of ketchup to their breakfast, lunch and tea. Their LDL levels dropped significantly in the three weeks.
Researchers at the University of Oulo in Finland conducted the study. They said that the volunteers total cholesterol levels dropped by under 6% and their LDL levels by almost 13%.
They urged the patients with high cholesterol to start consuming ketchup and drinking tomato juice to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
According to Marja-Leena Silaste from the University of Oulu, “A high dietary intake of tomato products had atheroprotective effects, it significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels, and increased LDL resistance to oxidation in healthy normocholesterolaemic adults.”
“These atheroprotective features are associated with changes in serum lycopene, beta-carotene and gamma-carotene level.”
Tomatoes are known to be a valuable source of nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and lycopene a potent antioxidant that gives the fruit its characteristic red color.
Moreover, the FDA has approved a claim on the role of tomatoes in reducing the risk of prostate, gastric, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. This indicates that other compounds found in the whole fruit may offer benefits in synergy with lycopene.