A daily dose of tomato ketchup could significantly improve the functioning of blood vessels in patients with heart disease, research suggests. A study has found that a powerful antioxidant in tomatoes may contribute to the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Participants in the study were given a pill containing a supplement called Ateronon that contains seven milligrams of the tomato ingredient lycopene. Lycopene is ten times more potent than vitamin E and previous research showed its potency appears to be enhanced when it is consumed pureed, in ketchup or in the presence of olive oil.
Stronger blood vessels
In a new study published the journal PLOS One, researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust delve deeper into how lycopene reduces the risk.
Thirty-six cardiovascular disease patients and thirty-six healthy volunteers were given either an off-the-shelf supplement (Ateronon) containing 7mg of lycopene, or a placebo in this randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial.
The patients with cardiovascular disease were all on statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs). However, despite this, they still had a relatively impaired function of the endothelium the inner lining of blood vessels compared to healthy volunteers.
Poor endothelial function can predicts future cardiovascular problems, so having a healthy endothelium is an important factor in preventing the evolution of heart disease.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the lycopene supplement improved and normalised endothelial function in the patients, but did not have an effect in healthy volunteers. Lycopene also improved blood …
Constriction of the blood vessels is one of the key factors that can lead to heart attack and stroke. However, the supplement had no effect on blood pressure, arterial stiffness or levels of lipids.
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