Tomatoes Can Help Lower Cholesterol

Whenever possible, we love tackling our health concerns with lifestyle changes. We follow our doctors’ advice about medical conditions and take medications. But, we like making changes to our diet or routine to help us get our health on track in natural ways. And if they are delicious, that’s even better! When tasty foods are good for our health, that’s just an added reason we feel great about including them in our diet, and it gives us more reason to enjoy them!

There are some foods that you eat so often that you don’t even think about them. Tomatoes are one of those. They’re in everything from healthy salads all the way to pizza, from simply sliced to stewed for hours. They can be thrown into hundreds of savory recipes. They’re a little sweet and a little tangy and lend themselves to everything. Some people don’t like them raw, but ketchup is universally loved. And, even the pickiest of eaters will happily eat spaghetti with a tomatoey sauce. But did you know that tomatoes are incredibly heart healthy?

It’s true! Tomatoes are amazing! Not only are they low in calories with 123 grams only having 24 calories, but they are also high in heart-healthy fiber. They are rich in antioxidants, low in carbs and they help cholesterol levels. They are a powerhouse! Tomatoes lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) while increasing the healthy HDL cholesterol.

The antioxidant lycopene is found in very high amounts in tomatoes. It offers protection from cancers and has been linked to lower heart disease risks. A study where participants drank tomato juice saw significant decreases in inflammation and better cholesterol levels. And repeated studies have backed it up: frequent intake of tomatoes has a positive impact on cholesterol levels and other heart health factors.  

The good news for people who don’t like unadulterated tomatoes is that your body absorbs more lycopene if the tomatoes are processed or cooked. But if you do love them raw, just add more to your salad! They’re so low in calories, they won’t upset your diet goals.

Some researchers have said tomatoes are just as good as statins. That statement is far too broad, sweeping and unclear to be taken as accurate. You should not trade a food for medication. Do not make a radical change like that without speaking to your doctor. If you are looking for an alternative to traditional medications, always talk to your doctor before making any changes.

Putting aside that dubious claim, what we like most about this is how easy it is to incorporate more tomatoes into your diet. In fact, they might be the most easily added food we have ever suggested. They are cheap. They are in every store. If you don’t like them raw, you can cook with them. If you like them as juice, you can find healthy brands. If you don’t like the flavor, you can add tomato paste to any stew or sauce. They really are one of the most affordable, versatile and widely available fruits in the country. So enjoy them, your heart will thank you!
August 28, 2020
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