This week a natural solution to lowering blood pressure was highlighted in a session at the American Dietetic Association’s Food & Nutrition Conference in Boston.
This week a natural solution to lowering blood pressure was highlighted in a session at the American Dietetic Association’s Food & Nutrition Conference in Boston. And what did it focus on? Tomatoes, America’s favorite non starchy vegetable- well, botanically speaking, they are actually a fruit! Beyond the widely recognized benefits of lycopene, recent studies have suggested that tomatoes unique combination of nutrients may have a measurable impact on heart disease prevention.
In a session sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Dr. Tissa Kappagoda of the University of California-Davis and Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State University reported on their research findings that centered on the amazing health benefits of canned tomatoes. After reviewing multiple studies, and one they co-authored on behalf of the Tomato Products Wellness Council, Dr. Kappagoda and Dr. Kris-Etherton came up with some astounding facts- that will make your heart happy.
Dr. Kappagoda reports that, “in a six-week study, people with high blood pressure who consumed two servings of canned tomato products daily, experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure.” For example - systolic went from 132 to 115 and diastolic from 86 to 75.
One of tomatoes most well know phytochemicals, lycopene, was also found to be 2 to 3 times better absorbed in canned tomato products versus raw – according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Tomatoes also serve as a significant source of vitamin C, and K, fiber and potassium, and in fact, they contain more than twice the potassium of bananas, potatoes, milk and orange juice. Lycopene is found in red orange vegetables such as pink-grapefruit, watermelon and guava, but tomatoes account for 85 percent of the lycopene consumed in the U.S.
Using canned tomatoes in a variety of meals is a really quick, easy, inexpensive way to get you and your family to eat more vegetables. When selecting canned tomatoes in the market look for brands that pick and pack their vegetables at the same location, this ensures the tomatoes are fresh when processed and that all of the nutrients are locked in, Hunt’s canned tomato products are a great example. It’s time we shift the focus from the negative aspects of foods to the wonderful benefits of a colorful, whole foods based diet - so get out there and eat your fruit and veggies!