What about tomato? Scientists are suggesting that tomato lovers may be more likely to reduce the risk of serious disease. Lycopene, an antioxidant which gives tomatoes their lovely rich red color, helps remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules and have been implicated in cancer and other serious diseases.
Professor Michael Avirim of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel who is testing lyco-pene in clinical trials says, “In its natural form, lycopene is an excellent antioxidant that helps to prevent formation of oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol in blood, which contributes to the build up of plaque that narrows, stiffens and constricts arteries and can lead to heart attacks). When this natural extract was added to cancer cell cultures, the lycopene inhibited their growth.”
Lycopene is the most potent nutritional antioxidant found to date. In the body, lycopene is deposited in the liver, lungs, prostate gland, colon and skin. Its concentration in body tissues tends to be higher than all other carotenoids.
In one six-year study by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of more than 47,000 menwerestudiedOf the 46 fruits and vegetables evaluated, only the tomato products showed a measurable relationship to reduce prostate cancer risk As consumption of tomato products increased, levels of lycopene in the blood increased, and the risk for prostate cancer decreased.
In another study, the researchers compared men who had had a heart attack with the same number of healthy men. The result showed that those with high levels of lycopene appeared to reduce their risk of heart diseases by half.
Lenore Kohlmeier, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, said “Based on our findings, and other research, lycopene can be an excellent antioxidant, we recommend that people eat tomato-based cooked foods.”
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