A ‘tomato pill’ could be used to stop people developing heart disease, according to a study by UK scientists.
Tomatoes have many health benefits
The study focused on using the tomato pill, which contains the active ingredient lycopene, which was trialled against a dummy drug. The tomato pill was found to improve the functioning of blood vessels. The study was published in PLoS One journal.
Lycopene is natural antioxidant found in tomatoes and other fruits; it has long been associated with avoiding certain illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Lycopene also gives tomatoes its colour.
The study was led by a team at Cambridge University investigating the benefits of the ‘tomato pill’ that has been developed by CamNutra. The study was not endorsed or funded by CamNutra.
Tomatoes are also a staple part of the Mediterranean diet which has been proven to be beneficial for health.
The study involved 36 volunteers known to have heart disease and 36 who did not have heart disease and were healthy. Over two months all participants were given either a placebo pill or tomato pill. Neither the volunteers nor researchers were away which pill was which, ensuring a fairer trial.
The scientists measured the effects of the pills by assessing the forearm blood flow which can be predictive of cardiovascular disease in the future because narrower blood vessels can cause stroke or heart attack.
In heart disease patients the pill significantly improved forearm blood flow whilst the placebo did not. The supplement had no influence on blood pressure, levels of fat in the blood or arterial stiffness.
Lycopene can be found in tomatoes and also apricots, watermelon, papaya and pink grapefruit.
Lead researcher Dr Joseph Cheriyan said: "A daily 'tomato pill' is not a substitute for other treatments, but may provide added benefits when taken alongside other medication.
"However, we cannot answer if this may reduce heart disease - this would need much larger trials to investigate outcomes more carefully."
If you develop cardiovascular disease a critical illness insurance policy can pay you a lump sum to help adjust following the event.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2014