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Tomatoes, basil and watermelon: Three great foods that lower your heart risk

by , 23 September 2013

They're heavenly in salads, on their own or as part of a meal: We're talking about tomatoes, basil and watermelon. And they're essential for your heart health too…

If you thought you’d never ask:

  • “Can I have a slice of tomato on my chicken sandwich?”
  • “Do you stock watermelon juice?”
  • And “Honey, we’re out of basil, please run to the shop and get some…”

Then you need to change your mind.

These foods aren’t only delicious, they’re essential to keeping your ticker happy and in good shape.

Why are these foods good for your heart?

It all comes down to the most powerful antioxidant out there: Lycopene.

Part of the carotenoid family of pigments, which give fruits and vegetables their brilliant red, orange and yellow colour, this antioxidant is essential for your well-being. It eliminates dangerous free radicals that damage DNA and other fragile cell structures, explains the Harvard University’s website.

And that’s great news for your heart, says Dr Jonathan Wright of Nutrition & Healing.

So it’s no wonder that researchers in Italy are punting tomato juice (which is high in lycopene) as a way to reduce inflammation in the body by more than 30%. “Since inflammation is linked to hardening of the artery walls and other cardiovascular diseases, keeping inflammation down is a natural way to protect your heart,” writes Dr Wright.

Other research also suggests that lycopene also

  • Reduces cholesterol,
  • Improves your body’s immune function
  • And prevents blood from clotting.

All of which lowers your risk of a stroke.

So there you have it: Just one more reason to sip a Bloody Mary in the afternoon or indulge in some yummy watermelon around the pool this Spring.

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