Omega-3s and Tomato Juice a Winning Combination for Heart Health
A recent study from the University of Murcia in Spain suggests that drinking tomato juice enriched with omega-3 essential fatty acidsmincreases the heart health benefits of both substances.
The study was published online ahead of print in the August 2011 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition.
Study participants included 18 women in good health between the ages of 35 and 55 with a body mass index between 21 and 30 kg/m2. They were randomly assigned to a test group and a placebo group.
Over the course of 2 weeks, the women consumed 17 oz of either plain tomato juice or omega-3 enriched tomato juice, both of which contained 25.6 mg of lycopene and 181 mg of polyphenols. The enriched juice provided a 250 mg dose of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), two types of omega-3 fatty acids.
While neither group showed any changes in blood lipid levels or cholesterol levels, both groups showed a reduction in the level of vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). The enriched juice group also showed reductions in the level of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and a 21% reduction in homocysteine blood levels.
VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 are compounds that have been shown to contribute to hardened fatty material deposits on the artery walls. Homocysteine is an amino acid that has been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The researchers concluded that a synergistic relationship exists between tomato juice and omega-3 essential fatty acids, making the combination more powerful than each on its own for fighting cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been shown to have numerous other health benefits, including warding off age-related cognitive decline, combating diabetes, reducing the risk of age-related vision loss, and relieving stress.
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