Good news for men who happen to also love tomatoes: a recent study suggests a high consumption level of tomatoes is connected with a decreased risk of having stroke.
Nearly 800,000 Americans will have a stroke this year—leading to paralysis, speech challenges and an increased risk for another stroke. Approximately one person dies of a stroke every four minutes in the U.S.
The study, entitled "Serum lycopene decreases the risk of stroke in men" was published in the current issue of the journal, Neurology. Conducted over a 12-year period in Finland, researchers looked at more than 1,000 men between the ages of 46 and 65 who had no history of strokes before the study began. The researchers checked the subjects' blood levels of lycopene—the potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, particularly cooked tomato products—at the beginning of the study and over the 12 years.
Adjusted for the men's ages and other factors, the men who maintained higher levels of lycopene in their blood were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke than men with the lowest levels.
Lycopene may contribute to a decreased stroke risk by preventing blood clot formations in the brain that lead to strokes, according to the study's lead author, Jouni Karppi of the department of medicine at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland.
This news gives men another reason to up their tomato intake as lycopene has also been pinpointed as being effective in decreasing the risk of developing prostate cancer—one of the leading cancers affecting men in the U.S.
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