Lycopene is the compound found in foods like tomatoes that gives them their red colour. Dr Mercola refers to lycopene supplements as “tomato pills”. So what's so special about this antioxidant that health practitioners are all raving about?
A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE tested the heart health benefits of lycopene by measuring forearm blood flow in subjects with heart disease. Keep reading to find out what they discovered.
Study discovers that taking that taking a lycopene supplement can reduce your risk of heart problems
The researchers split the group of subjects in half and gave the one group a lycopene supplement and the other group a placebo pill to take daily for two months.
The lycopene supplement that those in the lycopene group took contained 7 mg of the antioxidant. To gauge the effectiveness of the lycopene supplement, researchers monitored the blood flow in the forearms of the subjects.
For if you didn’t know, measuring blood flow in the forearm can help predict future heart problems because narrowed vessels can trigger stroke or heart attack.
What the researchers found was that the subjects in the lycopene group had significantly improved forearm blood flow while those taking the placebo pill didn’t. Therefore, this study suggests that lycopene can improve your blood vessels and reduce your risk of heart problems.
How to get more lycopene in your diet through supplements and food
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Now that you know about the incredible heart health benefits of lycopene, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can get more of it in your diet. While the study tested the heart health benefits of lycopene in the form of a supplement, it’s also possible to up your lycopene intake through eating more lycopene-rich foods.
Foods that are abundant in lycopene include tomatoes, sweet red peppers, papaya, grapefruit, watermelon and guavas. Not big on eating those foods? Then a supplement is the best way to go. You’ll find a lycopene supplement online or at your local health store.
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