Cooked tomatoes could have the same advantages as statins for patients battling against high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.
According to a study, cooked tomatoes could be an ‘effective alternative’ to statins, the class of drugs prescribed for conditions that can result in heart problems.
The secret lies in high levels of the compound lycopene which gives ripe tomatoes their bright red colour. 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 analysed the results of 14 international studies into the benefits of lycopene over the past 55 years.
They concluded that it could provide a natural defence to raised levels of so-called ‘bad cholesterol’ – or low-density lipoprotein – in the blood.
The effect was comparable to small doses of statins which are used to treat many of the 2.5million-plus Britons with high cholesterol or blood pressure
Tomatoes have particularly high levels of lycopen, as per one of the study’s authors, Dr Karin Ried, of the University of Adelaide.