Scientists from Tokyo Medical and Dental University found that drinking unsalted tomato juice could help reduce blood pressure and ‘bad’ cholesterol in Japanese adults at risk of heart disease.
High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.
The blood pressure results are given in two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, is the pressure caused by your heart contracting and pushing out blood.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
Prehypertension is defined as a systolic pressure from 120–139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80–89 mm Hg, based on two or more properly measured seated BP readings on each of 2 or more office visits.
Hypertension is diagnosed when blood pressure is consistent≥130 and/or ≥80 mm Hg.
Tomato juice is rich in nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamins, and potassium. It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants, such as lycopene, which may reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
In the study, researchers aimed to examine the effects of unsalted tomato juice on heart disease risk in local Japanese people.
They tested 481 local residents in Kuriyama, Japan. Throughout the year of the study, these people were provided with as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted.
These participants were screened for heart risk markers, such as blood pressure (BP), blood cholesterols, and blood sugar, before and after the study period.
The team found that blood pressure in 94 people with untreated prehypertension or hypertension was strongly reduced.
Furthermore, the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, ‘bad’ cholesterol) level in 125 participants with untreated dyslipidemia strongly decreased.
LDL-C makes up most of the body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The team found the beneficial effects of unsalted tomato juice were not different between men and women and among the different age groups. No big difference in lifestyle was found before and after the study.
Based on the findings, the team concluded that unsalted tomato juice intake improved systolic and diastolic blood pressure and ‘bad’ cholesterol level in local Japanese people at risk of heart disease conditions.
The research is published in Food Science & Nutrition and was conducted by Tamami Odai et al.
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