Can tomatoes lower LDL cholesterol and protect you from heart disease?Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia are saying yes.
Dr. Karin Reid and Dr. Peter Fakler at the University of Adelaide in Australia investigated and analyzed the collective findings of over a dozen studies dating back to 1955.
Can Tomatoes Lower LDL Cholesterol?
The study by Reid and Fakler concluded that lycopene taken in doses of 25 mg or more daily is effecting at lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol by around 10%. This is similar to the results you’d expect from a low dose cholesterol-lowering statin drug.
While previous research suggests that lycopene may also be beneficial for blood pressure, the conclusion of this study is that more research is needed to confirm that theory.
Lycopene is often linked to tomatoes as tomato sauce and tomato paste are among the two highest known sources of lycopene.
It might surprise you to learn that lycopene is found in higher amounts in cooked tomatoes or tomato paste compared to raw, fresh tomatoes.
For example, one cup of tomato paste contains a little over 75mg of lycopene. One cup of tomato puree and tomato soup have 54 and 26mg respectively.
Meanwhile, one cup of raw tomatoes has less than 5mg of lycopene.
You’d need to eat a little over 16 cups of raw tomatoes to equal the amount of lycopene in one cup of tomato paste.
Not only that…
But the lycopene in cooked tomato products is more easily absorbed by the body vs. raw tomatoes.
Lycopene can also be taken daily as a supplement, usually in a tablet or gelatin capsule.
Other foods known to be high in lycopene include…
- Pink and red grapefruit
- Dried basil and parsley
- Red Cabbage
Eating lycopene-rich foods with healthy fat and other carotenoids (such as the beta-carotene found in carrots) provide a higher level of absorption and greater health benefits.
Want more good news on lycopene?
Lycopene has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties. In fact, it's antioxidant powers are believed to be stronger than other carotenoids, even that of beta-carotene.
It's these same properties that have shown lycopene to be helpful at preventing the bad, LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized.
Lowering your LDL (therby improving your HDL/LDL ratio) and helping prevent LDL oxidation means lycopene has multiple beneficial effects on your heart and artery health.
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