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September 4, 2009 at 3:21 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Can Tomatoes Reverse Heart Disease?

By Katie from SLN More Blogs by This Author

Heart disease is possibly the single most frightening health problem facing people in the United States today. Increasingly sedentary lifestyles and poor diets are contributing to a soaring nationwide level of heart trouble. The issue is compounded by the fact that the effectiveness of traditional drugs is questionable, and the side effects of the medications are unpleasant at best. Wouldn't it be great if there were a natural solution that went beyond just slowing the progress of heart disease? Something that might actually treat the problem without causing a multitude of nasty side effects?

A Lycopene Pill

According to Cambridge University researchers, a pill made from tomatoes might offer more in the battle against heart disease than conventional drugs currently on the market. The team conducted preliminary trials that suggest that heart disease and high cholesterol are more vulnerable to the fruit than the medications. In an eight-week study of 150 people, a pill form of beneficial tomato nutrients lessened the oxidization of dangerous fats in participants' blood to practically nothing. This is a significant improvement on the capabilities of traditional medication.

Tomatoes contain a phytonutrient called lycopene. Lycopene is found in fruits that have deep pink and red coloring, and is actually what gives them their reddish hues. Tomatoes are among the best fruit sources for the phytonutrient. The catch is that lycopene is difficult for the human body to absorb.

Fortunately, scientists have been able to refine the substance so that it is more accessible. The pill was officially launched at a gathering of the British Cardiovascular Society, but it will be a while before the tomato pill has gone through enough testing to be declared clinically proven. Still, the research already done in this area further supports the longtime suggestion of doctors and other health professionals that the diet observed in Mediterranean countries works wonders for cardiovascular health.

Tomatoes in a Mediterranean Diet

A Mediterranean diet heavily consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, modest amounts of red wine, limited amounts of meat, plenty of beans and legumes, and healthy fats from olive oil.

Here's an easy and quick recipe for a healthy Mediterranean-style dish:

  • 1 12-ounce can (or two 6-ounce cans) chunk light tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts
  • 1 whole tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and serve.

Enjoy, and be healthy!

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