The healing power of food no longer seems to be a "secret" of those who practice raw diets, naturopathic or holistic medicine. Scientists today are going back to the basics to find out more about how our diet affects our overall health now and for the long term.
Foods are rich in antioxidants, compounds that fight free radical damage, protecting the cells, tissues and organs of the body. A new study published in Finland in the medical journal Neurology found men who consume high levels of one such plant-based antioxidant, lycopene, were less likely to suffer a stroke -- in fact, the risk of stroke was lowered by 55 percent.
The study reaffirms the important role of diet when it comes to heart health and encourages us to take a closer look at this powerful antioxidant.
What is lycopene?
Lycopene is an antioxidant that's found naturally within tomatoes. It's considered a carotenoid and gives the fruit its distinct, vibrant color. This antioxidant is also found in fruits like mango, papaya, watermelon and grapefruit. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average tomato contains about 3,165 mcg of lycopene.
This antioxidant has long been praised for its benefits to male health, protecting the function of the prostate gland. Lycopene may help reduce inflammation and play a role in preventing the development of prostate cancer, according to a 2004 study published in the medical journal Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention. Lycopene helps boost the immune system, may also support a healthy digestive tract and is also commonly recommended for cardiovascular support.
Lycopene and Stroke
In total, 1,031 men between the ages of 42 and 61 years participated in the study in Finland, funded by Lapland Central Hospital and led by Jouni Karppi. The study began in the early 1990s, tracking the men's cardiovascular health regularly over the course of the next 12 years. More specific to the 55 percent overall stroke risk reduction, these men were also 59 percent less likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot, also known as a ischemic stroke, which is the most common form.
How to Get More
Adding more tomato products to your diet, including fresh tomatoes and concentrated products like tomato paste, can help you increase your daily lycopene intake along with the other fruits mentioned. However, if you suffer from any type of reflux, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the acidity can do more harm than good. In that case, lycopene is available in supplement form for daily consumption.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there isn't currently a standard recommended dose of lycopene with proven results. An average dose for an adult is up to 30 mg per day. Discuss adding more lycopene to your routine with your physician, especially if you've been diagnosed with a medical condition, like GERD.
As if you needed another reason to eat your fruits and veggies. Stock up on great lycopene products at eVitamins for a healthier you!
Products you may like:
Now Foods Lycopene Why you may like this product? Now's product is a double
strength, providing 20 mg of
lycopene per serving. This
once-daily supplement contains
LYO-O-MATO Natural Tomato
Extract for prostate and heart
Olympian Labs Lycopene 25 Why you may like this product? Cooked tomatoes contain higher
concentrations of lycopene,
the amazing antioxidant for
prostate and heart health.
Each serving provides 25 mg of
pure lycopene from cooked
tomatoes combined with
vegetable enzymes for greater
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