Lycopene Found to Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in American adults and CVD is the cause of approximately 35% of American deaths every year.
While anti-hypertensive medications are increasingly common, they also can have pretty serious side effects. A recent study suggests that taking supplements with lycopene may lower systolic blood pressure by up to 5 mmHg in people who are prehypertensive or hypertensive.
The researchers analyzed data from six different intervention trials and found the correlation between consuming at least 12 mg lycopene with the lower systolic blood pressure. Lycopene did not, however, lower diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure refers to the pressure on the arteries when the heart is contracting, while diastolic is the pressure while the heart is at rest.
Researchers from the Medical College of Soochow University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 18, 2013, in the journal Nutrients.
Previous studies have shown that lycopene may have a positive effect on heart health, bone health, and skin health.
If you want to increase lycopene levels you may want to consider taking a lycopene supplement, or increasing your consumption of red-pigmented foods such as tomatoes, peppers and papayas. Certain diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are also high in lycopene.