Tomato brings relief to your heart problems

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tomatoesTomatoes have been point of discussion, being a fruit or vegetable.  Scientists usually refer them as fruit and cooks like to call them as vegetable. We may not agree upon, whether we should call it a fruit or vegetable, but one thing is pretty certain that tomatoes has tremendous nutritive value and can be useful for prevention of various diseases including heart disease. Besides containing Vitamin C, potassium and fiber they are richest source of lycopene.

 

What is Lycopene?

Lycopene is an important disease fighting antioxidant, which is present in the skin of tomatoes and gives them their red color.

 

Is tomato the only source of Lycopene?

Lycopene is not produced by the body, so you can only obtain its benefits through eating lycopene rich foods. Lycopene is found primarily in tomatoes and tomato products.  However, you can get smaller quantities of lycopene from guava, papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruit.

 

Which form of tomato contains Lycopene?

Tomato products, including ketchup, tomato sauces, soups and juices are the richest sources of lycopene. They contain three times as much lycopene as a raw tomato because cooking increases the lycopene content in tomatoes. Lycopene is soluble in fat, so cook your tomatoes with a little fat like olive oil to increase its absorption.

lycopene_content_of_foods

 

How does Lycopene work?

Lycopene is the most powerful carotenoid in the carotene family. Lycopene neutralizes harmful free radicals which are implicated in cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration and other age-related illnesses thereby protecting our bodily cells from free radical damage.

 

What are the benefits of Lycopene?

Lycopene provides various beneficial effects to our body like: tomato-heart

 

  • Lower the risk of heart diseases and stroke: Experts from British Cardiovascular Society told that Ateronon, a dietary supplement containing lycopene, blocks “bad” LDL cholesterol that can clog the arteries. Furthermore, trail conducted on limited population of 150 people reveal that within eight weeks, Ateronon can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero.  Neuroscientist Peter Kirkpatrick, Cambridge Theranostics Ltd, said the lycopene supplement could be much more effective than statin drugs like Lipitor that are currently used by doctors to treat high level of cholesterol.  
  • Reduce the risk of prostate, gastrointestinal tract, lung and skin cancers: Studies have shown that high consumption of lycopene rich vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer.
  • Improves immunity:  Being a potent antioxidant, lycopene enhances immunity of the body.
  • Helps with macular degeneration: Antioxidant properties observed in laboratory studies, suggested lycopene as a preventive therapy for age-related macular degeneration.
  • Lowers high blood pressure associated with pregnancy (pre-eclampsia): Studies shows that lycopene may reduce the development of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth retardation in women having their first child. 

How Much Lycopene is needed per day?

The nutritional benefits of lycopene can be achieved by drinking minimum 540ml (approx two glasses) of tomato juice each day.  The table below shows other ways to include high levels of lycopene in your daily diet using tomato-based products.

 

Product

Lycopene (mg/100g)

Serving Size

Lycopene (mg/100g)

Tomato Juice

9.5



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250 mL (1 cup)

23.8

Spaghetti Sauce

21.9

125 mL (½ cup)

28.1

Tomato Paste

42.2

30 mL (2 tbsp.)

13.8

Tomato Soup (Condensed)

7.2

250 mL (prepared)

9.7

Chilli Sauce

9.5

30 mL (2 tbsp.)

6.7

Tomato Sauce

15.9

15 mL (1 tbsp.)

2.7

Pink Grapefruit

4.0

½ grapefruit

4.9

Watermelon

4.0

1 slice (medium)

4.7

Raw Tomato

3.0

1 medium

3.7

Heinz media release, 2001 

Are there any side effects associated with lycopene?

Lycopene is generally considered safe, non-toxic, and consumption is usually without side effects.

 

Are there any lycopene pills available in the market?

Cambridge Theranostics, a spin-out company of Cambridge University, is launching Aternonon as dietary supplement.  In Asian countries like India, few lycopene pills are in the market for quite a while. Major one’s include Lycored (Jagsonpal Pharma), Lycostar (Mankind Pharma). These are also sold as dietary supplements. 

8 Responses

  1. maneesha says:

    good post roopali … indeed
    Buck up …

  2. ViPuL says:

    nice one bhabhi…..i did read it completely as far as i know

    as i like tomatoes very much

  3. ViPuL says:

    nice intro by the way

  4. Vijay Gorugantu says:

    There is a common notion among the masses that tomatoes are one of the reasons for stones in the kidney.

    When we do some research on the internet, you can see both sides of the coin.

    Any insight to busting this myth would be appreciated.

  5. Abhi says:

    namashkar,
    thanks for good article..

    I try to eat everyday a tomato in breakfast, but i remove the inside seed part , because i have had kidney stone problems !! Any comments on it !!

    Thanks

    Abhi

  6. Tomatoes are extremely healthy by themselves.

  7. swanand says:

    thanks !
    I will try to eat more & more tomatoes & watermelon for taking lycopene, which is really an ultimate source.

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