Do tomatoes stop strokes?
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 4:32p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A new study suggests eating tomatoes or tomato-based food could lower your chances of having a stroke.
The research, published in an American Academy of Neurology journal, found that higher levels of lycopene – the red stuff that makes up tomatoes – in your blood lessen your chances of having a stroke.
Completed in Finland, the study involved over 1000 men aged between 46 and 65 who were followed for an average of 12 years.
Sixty-seven men had a stroke during the time of the research.
Among the 259 men with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood, 11 had a stroke, while of the 258 with the lowest levels, 25 men had a stroke – a 59 percent higher rate.
But Otago University professor Murray Skeaf, who specialises in human nutrition, says tomatoes are no “miracle food”, and says the study was not large enough to draw conclusive evidence.
He says, however, it does reinforce the importance of a diet high in fruit and vegetables.
“People who have high levels of lycopene in their blood seem to have had fewer strokes over that 12-year period,” he says.
“But people who have high lycopene levels also have a whole bunch of other things, such as lower blood pressure. Is it they have lower blood pressure because they have high lycopene or is it because lycopene’s just a marker for a diet that’s high in fruit and vegetables?”
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