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Tomato Extract May Help With Artery Health

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidization is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. A recent study suggests that carotenoid-rich tomato extract may slow one of the processes that lead to thickening of the artery wall.

Participants in the study included 146 healthy people of normal weight. They were given either a carotenoid-rich tomato extract containing a 1:1 ratio (15 mg) of lycopene and phytosterols, tocopherols, phytoene, 4 mg of phytofluene, and 0.5 mg of beta-carotene, or a placebo daily for two weeks. The researchers measured oxidized LDL particles, glucose, insulin, and triglyceride responses eight hours after ingestion of a high-fat meal (850 calories, 50% from fat) at the beginning and end of the intervention.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the supplement group had significantly improved levels of oxidized LDL particles when compared with the placebo group. They did not note statistically significant changes in glucose, insulin, or triglyceride responses.

Researchers from Naturalpha SAS in France conducted the study. It was published in Food & Nutrition Research on October 4, 2016.

Previous studies have shown that tomatoes may help reduce high levels of cholesterol and improve heart health. Researchers believe that the high amount of the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes is the cause of the heart health benefits seen here. Lycopene has also been linked to bone health and skin health.

Other foods that contain high levels of lycopene include red-pigmented foods such as peppers and papayas.

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