Tomatoes May Decrease Stroke Risk

Lycopene is the key ingredient

tomato sliced in half

A new Finnish study finds that eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods may lower a man’s risk of stroke.

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Carolyn Snyder, RD, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, says the digestive tract is built for the assimilation of whole foods, not processed foods.

“With fresh fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, the body is able to use the nutrients that were provided for it,” she says.

Study details

For the study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers at the University of Eastern Finland tested the blood of more than 1,000 men between the ages of 45 and 65.

They found men with high levels of the antioxidant lycopene in their blood were 59 percent less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest levels. Tomatoes are high in lycopene.

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Researchers say the findings support the recommendation people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Bring on the veggies

Snyder says there are lots of ways to get more vegetables into your diet.

“One of my favorite recommendations is to go visit your local large supermarket that has an in-store salad bar,” she says. “Experiment with some of the fruits and vegetables that maybe you’re not familiar with or never tasted before. Get creative — maybe for lunches put extra tomato into your sandwich or wrap.”  

More information

Stroke

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