Fresh Tomatoes The secret to a healthy heart may be simply relishing a nectarous tomato. Confused? According to a recent investigation by the University of Adelaide, tomatoes can serve as a powerful alternative to medication in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, thus preventing cardiovascular disease. It was suggested that a bright red pigment called lycopene in tomatoes has antioxidant properties that are essential for good health. This pigment appears present to a lesser extent in watermelon, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and rosehip as well.

Claimed to be a novel study, scientists have put forth the effect of lycopene on cholesterol and blood pressure. The research amalgamates the results of around 14 analyses conducted within the last 55 years. It was pointed out that daily intake of more than 25 milligrams of lycopene may decrease LDL-cholesterol by up to 10 percent. Tomatoes apparently have high levels of lycopene and hence tout to guard against heart disease. Researchers believe that drinking half a litre of tomato juice or consuming 50 grams of tomato paste can help avert several cardiovascular ailments.

Lycopene appears better absorbed when consumed in processed and cooked tomatoes or tomato paste rather than fresh tomatoes. This pigment is probably available as a supplement in soft gelatine capsules or tablets also. In conclusion, high lycopene consumption was supposedly linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including hardened arteries, heart attacks and strokes. Dr Karin Ried and colleagues share the need for additional investigations to highlight the possible benefits of regular lypocene intake.

The research is published in the journal Maturitas.