Daily "tomato pill" could fight heart disease
Tomatoes may be your heart’s new best friend. Scientists in the U.K. tested a tomato pill that they say may improve the condition of blood vessels and ultimately, heart health. Their findings were published in PLoS One.
Created by CamNutra, the tomato pill includes lycopene, a strong antioxidant that provides tomatoes with their red color. Researchers at Cambridge University tested the effectiveness of the new pill in 36 participants with heart disease and 36 participants who acted as controls. Participants took one pill per day—either the tomato pill or the placebo—for two months. It was a blind study, so neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received which pill until the experiment ended.
To test the effects of the pills participants had their forearm blood flow measured. This test helps predict future cardiovascular risk. For participants with heart disease who received the tomato pill, their blood arm flow greatly improved while the placebos had no effect. On the other hand, blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial stiffness were not improved by the tomato pill.
The researchers said that lycopene supplements may be an alternative treatment for heart disease in the future, but pointed out that further studies are needed. Tomatoes are a prominent part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.