Disease Proof

Lycopene Makes Healthier Blood Vessels

Go eat a big fat tomato! Because a new study in the journal Atherosclerosis reveals lycopene—an antioxidant found in red and pink fruits and vegetables—lowers LDL and improves artery health:

Oxidation of LDLs is thought to play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Increasing LDL's resistance to oxidation is thought to possibly delay the progression of the disease.

“Our finding suggests that serum concentrations of lycopene may play a important role in the early stage of atherosclerosis,” wrote the researchers, led by Jong Ho Lee from the Department of Food and Nutrition at Yonsei University in South Korea.

“In addition, a reduced oxidative modification of LDL such as low oxidised LDL concentration and large LDL particle size may be one of the mechanisms by which lycopene could reduce arterial stiffness and the risk of CVD,” [reseachers] added.

Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of lycopene. In fact, he calls tomatoes—which are loaded with lycopene—one of his ten super fruits and vegetables to eat everyday. Here’s more about tomatoes and his list:

Tomatoes have been a hot topic in recent years because their consumption has been linked to dramatic reduction in the incidence of common cancers. One of the tomatoes' heavily investigated anti-cancer phytochemicals is lycopene, which has been shown to be protective against cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancers.

  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts

Via Nutra Ingredients.

Image credit: Zeetz Jones

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Fredyanto Aryawan - August 17, 2009 11:06 AM

I have eaten tomato once daily for a week.
How many tomatoes can we eat everyday to make us healthy...?

Sam - August 17, 2009 1:30 PM

Articles and studies like these can have the unintended effect in misleading people into mistaking the flag (i.e. a phytonutrient like lycopene) for the ship (i.e. the fruit with hundreds if not thousands of phytonutrients). Highlighting just lycopene can lead people into thinking they can get similar protection from the nutrient in isolated/supplement form. Beta-carotene should have been enough of an example disprove this. I find it more plausible that it is the harmony of hundreds if not thousands of phytonutrients within a tomato working together that provide the tools for good health. Just keep up a very high intake of the fresh, raw, colorful fruit and be confident that you are taking in a large variety of phytonutrition including lycopene (and beta carotene!).

Fredyanto, probably as much as you can-stand-to or enjoy eating. I doubt there is a practical limit to how much tomato you can eat.

BTW, if you are looking just to increase lycopene intake, eat watermelon which, ounce for ounce, has more than tomatoes.

Sara - August 17, 2009 10:19 PM

We have lots of really good tomatoes now. I had five of those superfoods in my dinner tonight.

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