Eating tomatoes may stave off a stroke: research
Date Posted: 19.10.2012
A DIET rich in tomatoes may help reduce the risk of suffering a stroke, a study has found.
The research from Finland found that men with the highest levels of a chemical found in the fruit in their blood were at half the risk of suffering a stroke than men with the lowest levels.
The chemical, lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red colour, has already been linked with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
It fights damage to the cells and may prevent the blood from clotting as readily, which is a primary cause of stroke.
The study of 1,031 men from Finland between the ages of 46 and 65, involved testing their blood for lycopene and following them for 12 years.
In that time 67 men had a stroke, 25 of them with the lowest levels of lycopene and 11 with the highest.
The results showed that when strokes caused by clots, rather than a bleed on the brain, the effect was stronger, as men with the highest levels of lycopene 59 per cent less likely to have a stroke.
The findings were published in the journal Neurology.
study author Jouni Karppi, PhD, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, said: "This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke.
"The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research."
The study also looked at blood levels of the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and retinol, but found no association between the blood levels and risk of stroke.
Dr Clare Walton, Research Communications Officer at the Stroke Association said: “We all know that eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg is good for our health.
"This study suggests that an antioxidant which is found in foods such as tomatoes, red peppers and water melons could help to lower our stroke risk.
"However, this research should not deter people from eating other types of fruit and vegetables as they all have health benefits and remain an important part of a staple diet.
"More research is needed to help us understand why the particular antioxidant found in vegetables such as tomatoes could help keep our stroke risk down.”
Tuesday October 09 2012