The more tomatoes you eat, the less likely your chances of suffering a stroke, according to a study out of Finland.
Tomatoes (and other fruits and vegetables) contain an antioxidant called lycopene, and researchers in this study “found that individuals with the highest blood concentrations of lycopene had a 55% lower risk of developing a stroke,” Medical News Today reports.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood flow to the brain from a blood clot or broken blood vessel and is said to be the fourth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability according to the National Stroke Association.
Study subjects were about 1,000 middle-aged men whose lycopene blood concentration was examined over a 12-year period. There were 67 total strokes among the group, but the cohort which tested with the highest lycopene concentration only suffered 11 strokes as compared with 25 for those with the lowest lycopene levels. The high-lycopene group also had a 59 percent lower chance of developing bloodclots.
Medical News Today quotes lead researcher Jouni Karppi that “this study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke.” Dr. Karppi added that “the results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research.”
The study, published in the latest issue of the Neurology journal, concludes: “This prospective study shows that high serum concentrations of lycopene, as a marker of intake of tomatoes and tomato-based products, decrease the risk of any stroke and ischemic stroke in men. ”
Lycopene also appears to be helpful in preventing prostate cancer among other illnesses according to some other data.