With the alarming rate among adults having high blood pressure, one can sincerely calls for an advocacy for healthy eating habits and lifestyle practices to avoid cardiovascular diseases.
Nutritionally, tomato is the top source of vitamins A and C. It has also significant traces of dietary fiber, beta carotene, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and thiamine.
Tomato in processed form like paste, catsup, soup and sauce, increases its lycopene content due to the heating up where tomato breaks down its cell walls thus releasing more lycopenes.
Lycopene from tomatoes are known to be good for the heart as lycopene contains the most powerful natural anti oxidant which has been found also to help prevent prostate cancer.
A study done in Harvard Medical School, it has suggested a role of Lycopene in the prevention of heart disease. The study has shown an inverse relationship between cardiovascular disease and a diet high in tomato based products suggesting that dietary lycopene or other tomato phytonutrients, consumed in oil based tomato products, provided cardiovascular benefits.
It has been known that tomato extract is a good source of lycopene, so much so that it has been developed into soft gel capsule to avert the risk of cardiovascular problem brought about by hypertension.
The daily intake of the lycopene (tomato extract), in capsule form for two months, there has been a considerable drop of blood pressure in mild to moderate hypertensive patients noted.
Apart from lycopene, some people give credence to the effect of phytonutrients such as Phytoene and phytofluene in tomatoes.
These phytonutrients act together in preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’ which can be deposited in the heart arteries and create plaque and increase blood pressure on the arterial walls. The plaque can block the flow of blood that eventually caused heart attack.
The hypertensive effect is a result of the anti oxidant activity of the tomato extract. While further studies are needed to determine the role of tomato extract as a medium in alleviating high blood pressure, its potential as a supplement to help support in normalizing blood pressure is quite promising.