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October 15, 2012


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I find this very interesting because evidence has shown that women are more likely to get strokes than men and men are more likely to have heart attacks than women. Usually things that have an effect on any particular group help the ones who are at most risk which, in this case, would be women. Also, doing a study on things that are so common in a person's diet can be difficult to evaluate because that leads into the fact that other consumed foods may impact that person's health. In that case, it could be assumed that those eating the tomatoes also had some other thing they were doing or ingesting on a regular basis to decrease their risk of certain adverse effects. While these types of studies would be difficult to find participants who have similar lifestyles in both the control and intervention group, it would be nice to have tomatoes help to prevent cancer.

While lycopene only has an evidence grade of "C" for this indication, it's great to see that it's getting more press! I love tomatoes, and this is just another reason to eat more of them.

It is great that lycopene can possibly reduce the risk of stroke by more than 50 percent. Lycopene has been studied extensively in other disease states including cancer. Tomatoes are the number one source of lycopene especially sun dried tomatoes. The following website gives more information regarding the top 10 foods that contain lycopene.

I did not realize that lycopene was found in so many fruits and vegetables. This is great to know since lycopene is becoming popular as a supplement. It’s great that lycopene is being studied for possible reduction to stroke risk in addition to other uses that there may be evidence for.

In addition to reducing stroke risk, lycopene has been shown to reduce risk of prostate cancer in men, particularly reducing the progression of prostate cancer. One study showed significant uptake of lycopene into prostate tissue and a reduction in DNA damage in prostate tissue.

New research from Australia adds tomato juice to the list of potential blood thinners. Based on this research, subjects who drank a glass of tomato juice a day reduced their risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and DVT.

I wonder how many tomatoes were ingested to see the reduction of stroke risk. Also it is strange that the study only focused on the male population. Actually a lot of my guy friends either hate ketchup or fresh tomatoes. I am also curious to know if different varietals of tomatoes also have the same amount of lycopene such as heirloom and yellow tomatoes.

As more and more research is completed on tomatoes, the more beneficial effects are found. Previously there were many studies being conducted in regards to the lycopene component in tomatoes in playing a role in lowering the occurrence of prostate cancer. It is great to see that new evidence has been found in helping with stroke since so many people are affected by this, in fact my own grandmother died of stroke a couple of years ago. Healthy eating is one modification one can make in their life to decrease their chances of stroke, and starting by incorporating tomatoes into their diet is simple and such a delicious way to do it.

There are several clinical trials out there now about natural products effects on reducing stroke risk. Some of these include antioxidants, vitamins E and C and carotenoids. The idea behind use of antioxidants is that they increase the resistance of LDL to oxidation and may reduce risk for atherosclerosis. It's good to know that the best medicines are sometimes in the healthy foods we eat.

Having witnessed my grandmother have a stroke, studies like this one are particularly interesting to me. Finding a correlation between blood levels of lycopene in men and a reduced risk of stroke is encouraging, but I agree with others and would like to see if the same is true for women. Also, because humans are mostly incapable of synthesizing carotenoids, and must obtain them through their diet, this is even more of a reason to eat a wide variety of colored fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids, like lycopene, give plants their vibrant colors, ranging from pale yellow through bright orange to deep red.

It’s always encouraging to hear about studies that encourage you to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables. The fact that the lycopene levels were taken from the blood and a certain increased lycopene therapy wasn’t applied means that these men could have been getting there lycopene from other sources, such as apricots, pink grapefruit, guava, or watermelon. All of these are healthy fuits, so it makes me wonder if it was really the lycopene that helped these men have a reduced risk of stroke, or if it was the fact that they engaged in healthy eating behaviors. Either way, I think the take away message is to remember to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

This provides promising evidence that eating lycopene rich foods (especially tomatoes), apricots, guava, palm oil and watermelon, may reduce the incidence of stroke in men age 46-65. The sample was large and they conducted a follow-up study 12.1 yrs. late that noted reductions in stroke, making the study more credible. It would be helpful to continue this research and extend the study to female patients as well. All patients should be encouraged (when possible) to include these foods in their diet.

I would also like to know if this effect is seen in women as well. Especially given how much I love tomatoes and italian food! Speaking of which, I wonder if that effect is as strong for things like tomato juice or jarred tomato sauce. Another recent study just came out showing that higher lycopene intake was associated with a longer life expectancy for patients with heart failure: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23076979. I find it interesting, because I also wondered about this, that the study mentioned that many sources of tomato (like canned and jarred things) are high in sodium, which has a negative effect on heart health. Therefore, I guess even if jarred and canned things have the same amount of lycopene, eating fresh tomatoes is best for the lower sodium content.

According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America, and a leading cause of adult disability. Most cases of stroke may be prevented, but most Americans are not proactive or unaware of prevention methods. In the study above, men with high levels of lycopene were found to have reduced risk of stroke, but it makes me wonder how many tomatoes or lycopene supplements that would correlate to in real life, so that men in their 40s-60s can be encouraged to consume a certain amount to promote stroke prevention.

It is interesting that lycopene can have such a beneficial effect on stroke risk. I have seen lycopene supplementation used to help with prostate issues, but this is the first time I am reading about its use for decreasing stroke risk. I wonder if this supplement would have a similar effect on stroke risk in women. Perhaps this could be an area of further research. Great article!

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