Posted on Feb 26, 2020, 6 p.m.
Tomatoes are loaded with anti-aging antioxidant health benefits, anti-inflammatory properties, and immune system boosting vitamin C, now a recent study published in the journal Food Science & Nutrition suggests that drinking unsalted tomato juice may help to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The Tokyo Medical and Dental University followed 481 participants who were allowed to drink as much tomato juice as they liked and were instructed to keep a journal to record how much they drank daily as well as any noticeable health changes.
The data showed that the majority of participants drank at least one 200ml bottle of unsalted tomato juice per day over the year, and on average blood pressure dropped 3% among 94 of the participants who had untreated prehypertension or hypertension. Among those with hypertension 125 experienced a 3.3% reduction in fatty substances that block blood vessels and can lead to stroke and heart attack.
According to the researchers, lycopene compounds in the tomatoes helped to prevent plaque from building up on the participant’s arteries which helped to reduce blood pressure as well as inhibiting LDL cholesterol, and protecting cells from free radical damage to minimize inflammation. Drinking tomato juice also leads to decreased absorption of dietary cholesterol in the small intestine and cholesterol synthesis in the liver.
Findings suggest that the beneficial effects were similar among both genders and different age groups. Although promising results should be taken with a grain of salt as additional research is required to determine the benefits of tomato juice, according to Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation.
Taylor notes that the study was limited by not factoring in the other foods that the participants consumed or lifestyle factors that may have affected blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additionally Japanese diets are different from Western diets, meaning the results can’t be generalized.
While Taylor acknowledged eating more fruits and vegetables can significantly boost heart and circulatory health, that doesn’t mean you should drink tomato juice whenever the mood strikes, one should not drink more than one 150ml serving of fruit or vegetable juice a day as the sugar content is high.
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