The Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of Tomatoes & Lycopene

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Research has shown that high consumption of Tomatoes and Lycopene may be associated with significant health benefits such as reduced prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke risk.

Tomatoes are one of the most commonly consumed plant-foods in the modern diet and they also play a huge role in the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with longevity and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tomatoes are a good source of many nutrients including Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.

Tomatoes are one of the best dietary sources of Lycopene, which is a lipophilic, unsaturated carotenoid responsible for the deep-red colour of ripe tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables.

Other dietary sources of Lycopene include watermelon, grapefruit, guava and papaya.

Let’s take a look at the current research on the evidence-based health benefits of tomatoes and lycopene.

Tomatoes & Lycopene Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk

tomatoeslycopenecardiovasculardiseaseriskmetaanalysisA healthy diet rich in a variety of plant-foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes is considered the cornerstone of cardiovascular disease prevention.

Studies have found that high intake of dietary lycopene and high-serum concentration of lycopene to significantly reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events.

Lycopene may improve vascular function and contributes to the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disorders through a variety of different mechanisms.

The main activity profile of lycopene includes antiatherosclerotic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antiplatelet, anti-apoptotic, and protective endothelial effects, the ability to improve the metabolic profile, and reduce arterial stiffness.

In this context, lycopene has been shown in numerous studies to exert a favorable effect in patients with subclinical atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, stroke and several other cardiovascular disorders, although the obtained results are sometimes inconsistent, which warrants further studies focusing on its bioactivity. [1]

A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological evidence published 2017 concluded:

This comprehensive meta-analysis suggests that high-intakes or high-serum concentration of lycopene are associated with significant reductions in the risk of stroke (26%), mortality (37%) and CVDs (14%). [2]

A meta-analysis of observational studies published 2017 concluded:

Higher lycopene exposure is inversely associated with a lower risk of CVD. [3]

A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of supplementing tomato and lycopene on CV risk factors published 2017 concluded:

The available evidence on the effects of tomato products and lycopene supplementation on CV risk factors supports the view that increasing the intake of these has positive effects on blood lipids, blood pressure and endothelial function.  These results support the development of promising individualised nutritional strategies involving tomatoes to tackle CVD. [4]

Tomatoes & Lycopene Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

Tomatoes & Lycopene Reduce Prostate Cancer RiskResearch has found that higher dietary lycopene intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.

Lycopene has been identified as an antioxidant agent with potential anticancer properties.

A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis published 2017 for the association between dietary and circulating lycopene and PCa risk concluded:

Our data demonstrate that higher dietary and circulating lycopene concentrations are inversely associated with PCa risk. 

This was accompanied by dose-response relationships for dietary and circulating lycopene.  However, lycopene was not associated with a reduced risk of advanced PCa. [5]

References

[1] Lycopene and Vascular Health

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.00521/full

[2] Lycopene and tomato and risk of cardiovascular diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28799780

[3] Lycopene and risk of cardiovascular diseases: A meta-analysis of observational studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28318092

[4] Tomato and lycopene supplementation and cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28129549

[5] Increased dietary and circulating lycopene are associated with reduced prostate cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28440323

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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