Tomatoes Provide a Litany of Health Benefits
If there is such a thing as a miracle food, the tomato is it.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism is publishing the results of a study led by Adana Llanos of Rutgers University that shows that even a short-term increase in tomato consumption can lower breast cancer risk.
For the study, Llanos’ team gathered 70 postmenopausal females; for the first 10-weeks of the 20 week study, the women followed a tomato rich diet, meaning they consumed a minimum of 25 g of lycopene per day. For the final 10 weeks, they followed a soy protein rich diet.
After following the tomato rich regimen, the women showed a 9 percent increase in the hormone adiponectin, which regulates fat and blood sugar levels — adequate levels of adiponectin help reduce breast cancer risk.
This latest study is just one more to add to the list of myriad health benefits linked to tomatoes:
- In 2011, a study by the National Center for Food Safety and Technology revealed that a tomato rich diet reduces prostate cancer risk, especially in African-American men
- A 2011 Japanese study revealed that a tomato rich diet helps fight the onset of vascular diseases
- A Finnish study published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that tomatoes and tomato products may reduce “bad” cholesterol levels by up to 13%
- Tomatoes contain high dietary levels of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure by flushing salt out of the body. In order to get the full benefit of the high levels of potassium in tomato products, choose products that have reduced or no sodium
- Research by the Department of Food Science at North Carolina State University found that lycopene may blunt the onset of artherosclerosis.
In addition to lycopene, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as caretenoids, beta-caratene, and magnesium.