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October 25, 2012
Tomatoes are among the most popular and healthiest vegetables on our tables. There are numerous health benefits of tomato juice and raw tomatoes which can be used by all of us year round to improve our health and prevent numerous diseases. First of all, tomatoes are known for their high content of very potent antioxidants lycopenes, and just like all atioxidat sources, tomatoes are considered powerful protection against oxydative stress and negative effects of aging. Studies have shown that consuming tomatoes on a regular basis can assist in lowering risks of certain types of cancer, improving and stimulating the function of important body organs and systems, etc. In addition, according to the latest findings of a group of Finnish researchers, published earlier this month in Neurology magazine, eating tomatoes on a regular basis can reduce the risk for stroke, especially in men.
A scientific research team of experts from the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio carried out an analysis of the data received on 1030 male participants aged from 45 to 65 years. The main objective of the research was to see if there are links between high serum concentrations of major carotenoids in tomatoes and the risk for stroke, and give an answer to the question how to prevent stroke by using natural solutions and remedies. The participants were followed for about 12 years, and the main data that interested the researchers was the levels of the antioxidant lycopene in the blood of the participants. Since tomatoes are the best known natural sources of lycopene, the participants were recommended to add tomatoes to their daily diet in order to increase blood levels of this antioxidant.
For the time of the research, 67 participants suffered from a stroke, and 50 participants suffered from ischemic stroke. The scientists looked close at the levels of lycopene in the blood. 258 participants had the lowest levels, and among those, 25 participants suffered from a stroke. At the same time, among those 259 participants with the highest levels of lycopene in blood, only 11 suffered from a stroke. After making adjustments for confounding variables, linked to other causes of blood clot formation, the links became even more apparent. According to the final report written by Jouni Karppi, Ph.D., one of the study leader and a researcher from the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, those men who have high lycopene levels in the blood can enjoy reduced risk of stroke and have 59 per cent lower chances to suffer from this serious cardiovascular condition.
“Results of the present study show that high serum concentrations of lycopene, as a marker of intake of tomatoes and tomato-based products, decrease the risk of any stroke and ischemic stroke in men,” the study author wrote in the report. “Thus, a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables may prevent stroke.” At the same time, Finnish researchers point to the fact that their study has found only a strong association but did not manage to find out a cause-and-effect, and it can be an objective of another study to research the issue at a closer look. Also, the scientist recommend those who are wondering about how to prevent stroke to keep in mind primarily the most influential factors like smoking, type 2 diabetes, aging, and others, which play a role and have effects on a risk of stroke, both in men and women.
Dr. David Thomas, an expert and a professor of medicine at Saint Louis University, said that the findings of Finnish scientists are good for creating and researching one more hypothesis, but yet they do not prove that eating tomatoes can protect men against having a stroke. He reported to the media that a number of previous trials and researches have given mixed results and conclusions about using lycopenes for stroke prevention. In particular, he underlined that among the nine studies that found the connections between vegetables and fruit consumption and improved health, only five came up with positive results and have proven the links. Moreover, positive effects of fruits and vegetable on our health can be achieved by regular consumption of only organic ones. Read more about the research group, about the objectives and the methods of the study, as well as about the conclusions and ways how to prevent stroke in men by regular consumption of tomatoes in this article.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.