A new study reveals eating tomatoes could help to reduce the risk of stroke in men.
The key factor is an antioxidant Lycopene which is found in high concentrations in tomatoes and tomato-based products according to the Finnish study published in the Neurology journal.
The study, published Monday in the journal Neurology, involved more than 1,000 Finnish men between 46 and 65 who never had a stroke before.When their blood was tested for lycopene ,it was found higher the level of lycopene lower the chances of stroke.Infact people with the highest amounts of lycopene in their blood were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke.
The investigators found no association between stroke risk and blood levels of the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and retinol, according to the report published in the Oct. 9 issue of the journal Neurology.
One possible reason that lycopene might decrease the risk of stroke more than other antioxidants because lycopene is a potent antioxidant and the most effective quencher of singlet oxygen, and it was reported to be more effective than beta-carotene in cell protection against hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen dioxide radicals.
Dr. Rafael Ortiz, director of the Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said,"Smokers had decreased levels of lycopene. Lycopene also has other functions -- reducing inflammation, blocking cholesterol synthesis, boosting immune function, and inhibiting platelet aggregation and thrombosis.."
The correlation between lycopene levels and stroke risk was even stronger when the researchers only included strokes due to blood clots, leaving out those caused by hemorrhages.
Nutritionists say you can get more lycopene from tomatoes if you cook them. It breaks down the tomato’s cell walls and makes it easier for your body to absorb the antioxidants.
More research is needed to confirm the study’s results. But experts say everyone should still eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy.