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How do tomatoes protect against heart disease?

Carolyn  Thomas
Healthcare
There is no single food or supplement or miracle product that protects the heart against heart disease in the absence of ongoing regular lifestyle improvements (daily exercise, healthy overall diet, smoking cessation, stress management and maintaining a healthy weight). Virtually all studies promoting tomatoes' lycopene for heart health suggest that "further studies are recommended". Ditto for other miraculous protectors like broccoli, cayenne pepper, apricots, lemons and other magical cures you'll find touted in the headlines near the grocery checkout.
Emilia Klapp
Nutrition & Dietetics

Tomatoes are crucial in the fight against heart disease because they contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against cell damage. In particular, lycopene prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood.

Studies show that people with a high concentration of lycopene in their organ tissue have a lower risk of heart attacks. The body absorbs lycopene best when it is heated, such as in a tomato sauce or tomato paste, or when it is part of a meal that includes a source of fat such as olive oil.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.