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Researchers Encourage Tomato Consumption

Researchers from Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK, evaluated the current evidence on the effects of supplementing tomato or Lycopene on cardiovascular risk factors.

Results from this work showed that increasing the intake of tomato or lycopene has important positive health effects such as lowering blood lipids, blood pressure, inflammatory factors and improving endothelial function (the health of the blood vessels by making these more distensible).

These findings are interesting and add to the significant evidence supporting important health benefits associated with consuming more fruit and vegetables. However, these results also support the fact that different fruit and vegetables have different properties and thus may confer different health benefits. These results should encourage the consumption of tomato and tomato-based products in our diet. Tomatoes, grown and eaten in diverse ways, are often associated with Italian cuisine, however these are originally native of Mexico and are now ubiquitous to most cuisines around the world. As for Lycopene, a naturally occurring compound that gives tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables its red colour, it is well known for its powerful antioxidant properties.

The article suggest that the benefits observed in this work might translate into significant reductions in the development of a range of cardiovascular diseases as well as in lower risks of mortality. The authors are currently synthesising the evidence on this area by reviewing and pooling results from population studies evaluating the association of tomato consumption with the development of disease and mortality.

In addition, these researchers are currently undertaking a controlled diet study at Northumbria University. Given the vast range of tomato varieties available in the market, it is valuable to evaluate the health benefits of these. This study is intended to evaluate the impact of supplementing two different varieties of tomato to adult volunteers in order to further the evidence on the health benefits of tomato.

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