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

Too Much Meat and Dairy Harm Sperm

No, no! Don’t mess with my sperm. A new study in the journal Fertility and Sterility reveals diets low in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and high processed meats and full-fat dairy heighten risk of low-quality sperm. The study involved 61 men visiting a fertility clinic. Of the participants, half had poor sperm quality. Those men also had a higher intake of meat and dairy, but the other half of men had normal sperm counts and tended to eat more fruits and vegetables. Experts cite increased levels of antioxidants, like vitamin C and lycopene, for better sperm; Reuters investigates.

Antioxidants are like Superman and Batman rolled up in one. Take blueberries, they’re packed with healthful nutrients, like flavonoids, which are associated with cancer prevention and plants like broccoli protect against things such as respiratory inflammation and stroke, while antioxidant-devoid foods like hotdogs and bacon may lead to leukemia and raise lung cancer risk.

The bad news for meat keeps piling up. Just last month, a study linked processed meat to increased death risk, as high as 50% and recently red meat was pinned to blindness. Eek!

Image credit: splorp