Tomatoes and Cholesterol

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Can eating tomato products lower our LDL cholesterol levels as a statin drug would? Tomatoes have lycopene and is considered good for us. In a study; 25 mg.of lycopene a day lowered LDL levels by about 10 %; which is good and about what you would expect from taking a statin drug for several weeks. This without the possible side effects that you might get from taking a statin; which can include liver damage. That is a place I do not want to go, we can’t live without a functioning liver. How much do we need to get this benefit? As little as four ounces of tomato sauce may do the job and even less if you use tomato paste. You could eat a spoonful of tomato paste every day or incorporate tomato sauce into your daily diet. The lycopene in tomatoes may limit the production of LDL and may also help break up the fatty buildup in our arteries

Lycopene also prevents the inflammation caused when. LDL oxidizes in the arteries. When the arteries become inflamed; plaque can attach to the side of the artery and form a blockage, impeding or stopping blood flow. LDL also restricts the release of nitric oxide which keeps the arteries relaxed and pliable. This same nitric oxide is what helps men achieve an erection; so hey, that might be important to some of us.

Tomatoes provide vitamins A, B,C, folate, riboflavin,chromium, potassium, beta-carotine, antioxidants and fiber. Tomatoes help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, and may help with the following cancers; prostate, breast, endometrial, colorectal, lung and pancreatic. Our eyes benefit from the vitamin A .

Although fresh tomatoes are good for us; to get the maximum amount of lycopene we have to cook them. The cooking process increases the antioxidants, up to three times for a thirty minute cooking time. The addition of olive oil to diced tomatoes during cooking greatly increases the absorption of lycopene.

I love tomatoes, grow them in my garden and sometimes eat several a day during the summer  when I have them. I don’t really care for the ones you get from the store but will buy them sometimes. Because I believe in the benefits of eating tomatoes so much; I have devised a simple way to get what I need every day. I make my own tomato juice; I take two small cans of tomato paste and empty them into a medium-sized bowl, add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, I T of soy sauce and 1 T of Worcestershire sauce, add a quart of water, mix well, pour into a half-gallon container, fill with water and shake well. I make two containers at a time and it last me about two weeks. I drink about a cup of this thirty minutes before dinner. I also add a good squirt of sriracha sauce for a little kick, it speeds up your metabolism too. For those of you who like a drink in the evening; you could use this to make a Bloody Mary or two. So why do I make my own juice? There is as much as 800+ mg of sodium in some brands of the bottled tomato juice, that is over half of our daily salt allowance in an eight ounce glass of tomato juice. Mine has less than 100 mg. I believe there may be a health benefit from the apple cider vinegar and the soy and Worcestershire sauces are just for the taste. I also put a couple of tablespoons of chia seed in my juice but that is another story.

I believe tomatoes are one of the very good things you can do for your health; so design a way for you to get them into your diet and you will be much better for it. Enjoy them; I do.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

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