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Lycopene Intake Linked With Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that gives pink and red fruits and vegetables their color. A recent study has found that lycopene may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 17% and coronary heart disease (CHD) by 26%.

Participants in the study all participated in the Framingham Offspring Study and included 314 individuals with CVD, 171 with CHD, and 99 people who had experienced strokes.

The researchers followed the participants for 10 years and used repeated measures of lycopene intake to determine accurate intake levels. They found that the average intake of lycopene was 7.9 mg per day.

Analysis of the data found that lycopene intake was inversely associated with a 17% reduction in CVD and a 26% decrease in incidences of CHD. However, no association was found between lycopene intake and stroke.

The study was conducted by researchers at Tufts and Boston Universities. It was published online ahead of print on January 15, 2013, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have shown that lycopene may have a positive effect on bone health and skin health. If you want to increase lycopene intake, 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.

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