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Is Tomato Juice Good for Your Health?

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When you think of nutritious foods that promote health and wellness, tomatoes probably aren't at the top of your list. Nonetheless, this juicy-red fruit -- yes, tomatoes are a fruit -- may play a key role in protecting against chronic disease. According to a new study, people who include lots of tomatoes in their diet are less likely to develop heart disease than their counterparts who consume few or no tomatoes.

About the Study

For the study, medical researchers sought to investigate the correlation between tomato juice and heart disease. Researchers recruited over 400 men and women while paying close attention to their consumption of tomato juice as well as their heart health. So, what did they discover? Researchers found that men and women who consumed tomato juice had lower blood pressure after one year. On average, participants' systolic blood pressure dropped by roughly 3 points, while their diastolic blood pressure dropped by roughly 2 points.

With lower blood pressure, participants were less likely to develop heart disease. This is important because heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States as well as many other countries.

This study was published in the medical journal Food Science & Nutrition

Tomatoes: Beyond Heart Health Benefits

In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, tomatoes may offer other health benefits. They contain high concentrations of a nutrient known as lycopene, for example, which has been shown to promote healthy and youthful-looking skin. Lycopene works as an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces skin inflammation. It's believed that people who consume tomatoes have healthier, clearer skin because of the presence of lycopene in this fruit.

Furthermore, tomatoes contain natural plant-based antioxidants that, like other antioxidants, protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. When free radicals enter the body, they can destroy otherwise healthy and functional cells. Antioxidants, however, prevent this from happening by neutralizing free radicals, which is just one more health benefit of adding tomatoes to your diet.

Researchers are still trying to learn more about how exactly tomatoes affect the human body, but the general consensus is that they are good for your health. Among other things, tomatoes may lower your risk of heart disease, promote youthful-looking skin and ward off cell-damaging free radicals. I guess the better question to ask is why shouldn't you add tomatoes -- or tomato juice for that matter -- to your diet?

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