On Monday a study was released that says men who eat tomatoes might have a lower risk of suffering a stroke. Researchers from Finland found in the study that of over 1,000 men that were analyzed, those with a relatively high level of lycopene an antioxidant in their blood were less apt to suffer a stroke during a 12-year study period.
Lycopene is the chemical in watermelon, papaya, red peppers and tomatoes that gives those foods their reddish hue. For the majority of people, tomato products and tomatoes themselves are the biggest source by far of lycopene in the diet. However, the study does not prove that ketchup and tomatoes can lower the stroke risk in anyone.
Included in the long term study were 1,030 men who were 46 to 65 years old. They all had the level of lycopene, vitamins A and E and alpha beta-carotene measured in their blood. Over the following 12-year period, 11 strokes occurred among the one quarter of men with the level of lycopene that was the highest compared to the 25 strokes amongst the one-quarter with the lowest lycopene levels.
Some major factors were then accounted for by the researchers that could affect the risk of stroke, such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking. Still, the group, with the higher level of the antioxidant lycopene had a lower risk level by 55% of suffering from a stroke.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that is very potent, said the researchers involved in the study. Therefore, if helps to protect cells in the body from damage that might eventually lead to a disease.
Research in laboratories has suggested that the antioxidant also helps fight blood clots and inflammation and could be better than other antioxidants.