Natural compounds in tomatoes lower the most dangerous form of cholesterol, a new study shows.
Most of us know that HDL is “good” cholesterol and LDL is “bad.” But there’s a type of cholesterol that is even worse than LDL. It’s oxidized LDL.
Oxidation of LDL cholesterol occurs when regular LDL particles in your body react with free radicals. The resulting oxidized LDL is more reactive to surrounding tissue. This makes it more likely to cause inflammation and blood clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes.1
French researchers from the Naturalpha Clinical Nutrition Center at Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital wanted to find out if there was a natural way to lower this particularly deadly form of cholesterol.2
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They gathered 146 healthy men and women. The subjects were not on any cholesterol medication. The scientists randomly assigned half to take a daily tomato extract supplement for two weeks. The other half took a placebo.3
The supplement contained three phytonutrient compounds found in tomatoes:
- This is the phytochemical that gives tomatoes their bright red color.4
- These are plant compounds known to lower LDL cholesterol.5
- These are a family of vitamin E compounds.6
Researchers tested participants’ blood over the course of two weeks. Oxidized LDL levels dropped by 20% in those taking the supplement. There was no change in subjects who took a placebo.
The Dangers of Statins
Even after eating a big high-fat meal, the subjects taking the tomato supplement had lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol than people taking a placebo who did not binge on a fatty meal.7
Statin drugs are now the first-line treatment for people with high cholesterol. But as INH has told you, these drugs not only haven’t been proven effective, the side effects can seriously threaten your health.
Statins can raise your risk of thyroid cancer and cause your muscles to wither away.8 One study shows they more than double your risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Tomato extract supplements have no side effects. There are many brands on the market. The one used in the study is called CardioMato.
The Healthiest Kind of Tomatoes
You can get some of the same heart benefits by eating tomatoes regularly. But all tomatoes are not created equal when it comes to phytonutrients. The nutrient levels can vary greatly depending on how tomatoes are grown and what type they are.
Cherry tomatoes are the healthiest. That’s because they have a greater skin to flesh ratio. Much of the nutrition of tomatoes is in the skin. Organic cherry tomatoes have 51 mg of lycopene per pound. By comparison, regular-size organic tomatoes have only 15 mg per pound of lycopene.
Making tomato sauce is a good way to concentrate the nutrients. A half cup of tomato sauce has 28 mg of lycopene.9,10
If you’re worried about your heart, there’s something else you should know… One cardiologist says a natural treatment has restored heart health to almost every single one of his patients.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch