High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
Characterised by their sweet yet tangy flavour, tomatoes offer more than a delicious base for various dishes.
Packed with nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and folate, the “really tasty” fruits could also keep your cholesterol levels in check, Dr Michael Mosley shared.
The doctor explained that tomatoes also have a special pigment called lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant responsible for the fruit’s vivid red colour and plentiful health benefits.
From reducing your risk of various cancers to complimenting your skin health, lycopene has many tricks up its sleeve.
Dr Mosley explained that it may also “boost” your heart health and reduce high cholesterol.
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Speaking on his podcast Just One Thing, the health guru said: “In a recent review of six studies, scientists found that consuming one to one and a half of cups of tomato juice daily for an average of six weeks could lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.
“[Furthermore], people who drank tomato juice had reduced levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.”
This type of cholesterol is the one responsible for clogging up your arteries and hiking your risk of serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to strokes.
On the other hand, tomatoes were also found to increase your levels of HDL cholesterol, also known as the good type.
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HDL cholesterol can help absorb LDL cholesterol from the blood and carry it back to the liver, where it gets flushed out from the body.
What’s more, high levels of HDL cholesterol can also slash your risk of heart disease and stroke.
While raw tomatoes can offer some lycopene boost for your diet, the doctor recommended opting for juices, sauces from fresh or tinned tomatoes, or even ketchup.
Dr Mosley said: “Cooking tomatoes dramatically increases the amount of lycopene you can absorb.
“The heat breaks down the tomato’s thick cell walls, making the lycopene and other compounds in the tomatoes more accessible to your body.”
According to Professor Richard van Breemen from Oregon State University, who also appeared on the podcast, you should aim for about 30 milligrams of lycopene.
Eating tomato salad might give you five or 10 milligrams of lycopene, but 100 grams of tomato sauce packs about 50 milligrams.
Dr Mosley added: “Cook your tomatoes and drink your tomato juice, it’ll taste delicious and it may even protect you from some forms of cancer. And your arteries and your skin will thank you as well.”
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