You've heard of ditching salt to help lower your blood pressure. But what about bumping up your tomato intake?
Seems it may be a cherry tomato of an idea. People with hypertension who consumed tomato extract daily for 8 weeks experienced a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 4-point drop in diastolic pressure. The reason?
Researchers credit the lycopene in tomato extract for the potential blood-pressure-lowering effects experienced by participants in a recent study, but further research is needed to confirm the findings. And it's not clear how eating whole tomatoes would compare to taking tomato extract. In the study, people took 250 milligrams of commercial tomato extract daily – containing about 15 milligrams of lycopene. That would be equivalent to the lycopene in about 3 or 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, which wouldn't be a difficult amount to add to your daily diet.
Regardless of the blood pressure benefits, we already know that lycopene has anticancer and heart-protective effects.
Not a fan of tomatoes? You have other options for getting your lycopene fix, including watermelon, red grapefruit, and canned baked beans.