Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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Stroke is a daunting prospect, with the life-threatening condition claiming around 38,000 lives in the UK each year. Characterised by a cut-off blood supply to your brain, stroke requires urgent treatment. However, you could also reduce your chances of this condition occurring through what you eat.
As stroke occurs around once in every five minutes, according to Brain Research UK, scientists and researchers keep looking for ways to stave off this serious condition.
A study, published in the journal Neurology, joined these efforts with their research on stroke and tomatoes.
The research team looked at a carotenoid called lycopene that is naturally present in the small fruit.
The study consisted of 1,031 Finnish men between the ages of 46 to 65 years old.
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The researchers measured the subjects’ levels of carotenoids, including lycopene.
During a follow-up, 67 men went on to experience the medical emergency, with 50 of these being ischaemic strokes.
The researchers then adjusted the data for various factors, such as age, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, smoking, and cholesterol, before landing on their conclusion.
The study found that men who had the highest lycopene concentrations had 59 and 55 percent lower risk of ischaemic and other stroke types
The research team concluded that high concentrations of lycopene, as a marker of intake of tomatoes and tomato-based products, were able to reduce the risk of this life-threatening condition in men.
While the study only looked at men, research also proves that tomatoes can reduce blood pressure, which is considered to be a precursor of strokes.
The reason why tomatoes can reduce a blood pressure reading doesn’t come down to lycopene but potassium, Blood Pressure UK explains.
The charity shares that potassium plays a part in how much fluid gets stored in your body and how much gets released.
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When your body starts holding onto extra fluid that also puts extra fluid in your blood, driving up your blood pressure levels.
In order for your body to filter out fluid from your blood, it needs a “fine balance” of sodium and potassium.
Blood Pressure UK states: “By eating more foods that are high in potassium, you can help to restore the balance, allowing the kidneys to work well and lower your blood pressure.”
And the charity lists tomato juice and puree as fruits that are “particularly high in potassium”.
The research, published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition, also backs this claim.
The researchers looked at both men and women who consumed about 200 millilitres of tomato juice every day.
Their findings suggest that enjoying unsalted tomato juice can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Based on this research, tomatoes could help boost your longevity by cutting your risk of stroke as well as lowering your blood pressure.
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