|Evan Watson, NatureCity author & contributor|
A new study by scientists at the University of Oulu in Finland determined that including tomato products in your diet may significantly reduce cholesterol levels.
The three week study of 21 healthy subjects was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Participants who added 13.6 fl oz. of tomato juice and 30mg of ketchup to the diet reduced overall cholesterol levels by 5.9%. More important, their LDL cholesterol levels fell by 12.9%.
In addition, the researchers noted that ingesting the tomato products increased blood levels of lycopene, beta-carotene and gamma-carotene. These nutrients are found naturally in tomatoes â€“ and may be responsible for the cholesterol benefits observed in the study..
You should be aware that many commercial brands of tomato juice can contain alarming amounts of salt. So be sure to read the label and choose a no or low salt-added tomato juice. Also beware of high sugar levels found in many ketchup products. These additives could offset the natural benefits of tomatoes.
Other natural alternatives supporting healthy cholesterol levels are foods such as oatmeal, fish oil and ingesting 25-30 grams of fiber from food and supplements daily.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
December 2007, Volume 98, Issue 6, Pages 1251-1258
“Tomato juice decreases LDL cholesterol levels and increases LDL resistance to oxidation”
Authors: M.-L. Silaste, G. Alfthan, A. Aro, Y.A. Kesaniemi and S. Horkko