They are common ingredients found in millions of kitchen cupboards. But pasta sauces and pizza toppings could add much more than a tasty tomato flavor to a family’s favorite meals. Scientists said that cooked tomatoes can have the same benefits as statins for patients battling against high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.
They could be an ‘effective alternative’ to dangerous statins, the class of drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions which can lead to heart problems, according to a study.
And just two ounces of tomato paste or a pint of juice a day could be enough to help many patients.
The secret lies in high levels of the compound lycopene which gives ripe tomatoes their bright red color. This powerful anti-oxidant is essential for good health as it helps lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Cooked tomatoes are best as tests showed the body can absorb more lycopene from these than raw fruit.
Experts in Australia analyzed the results of 14 international studies into the benefits of lycopene over the past 55 years.
They concluded that it could provide a natural defense to raised levels of so-called ‘bad cholesterol’ – or low-density lipoprotein – in the blood.