Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables around the world. It enhances cooking and also provides you with several health benefits. In fact, tomatoes are among the best foods recommended for your heart health, as per Harvard Health. Several studies have associated tomatoes with better cholesterol and blood pressure management, which are two of the biggest risk factors for heart disease.
Now, a study recently revealed that eating tomatoes can help prevent and manage blood pressure levels.
Tomatoes For Blood Pressure Management
As per the study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, tomatoes and tomato-based products like tomato sauces, ketchup, and salsa can help prevent and manage high blood pressure.
Researchers involved 7056 participants with a high risk of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs). They were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their tomato consumption and were then categorised into four groups:
- Lowest (<44 g)
- Intermediate (44–82 g)
- Upper-intermediate (82–110 g)
- Highest (>110 g)
The study found that eating more tomatoes, especially over 110 grams per day, is linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of developing hypertension. This benefit was even more significant for people with early-stage hypertension.
Those who ate the most tomatoes had lower blood pressure, especially the diastolic reading. Compared to the group eating the fewest tomatoes, the group eating the most had a 36% lower risk of developing hypertension.
According to the AHA, a normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic.
What Makes Tomatoes Good For Heart Health
Lycopene, a type of pigment called a carotenoid, is what gives tomatoes their red colour. In an interaction with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Shuvanan Ray, Director-Cardiology, Fortis Hospital Anandapur, Kolkata, said that it acts as an antioxidant that removes free radicals from the body, reducing the risk of anti-inflammatory diseases, cardiac problems, diabetes, cancer, and osteoarthritis.
A 2022 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggests that the primary effectiveness of lycopene towards the cardiovascular system was associated with “the reduction of C-reactive protein, improvement of lipid profiles, as well as reduction of blood pressure, and inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators.”
In addition, the potassium-rich content in the tomatoes helps reduce blood pressure levels by lowering the effects of sodium in the body.
The AHA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day of salt intake, with the ideal limit being no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially those with high blood pressure.
The Final Word
The recent study highlights the benefits of eating tomatoes for heart health; however, many experts recommend consuming the nightshade vegetable in moderation. Due to their high acidic content, research suggests tomatoes can lead to problems of acidity and heartburn. Persistent acid reflux can give rise to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which occurs when stomach acid consistently flows back into the oesophagus, leading to chronic heartburn and indigestion.