A study by scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has found a powerful antioxidant in tomatoes may contribute to the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
Participants in the study were given a pill containing a supplement called Ateronon containing seven milligrams of the tomato ingredient lycopene.
Lycopene is 10 times more potent than Vitamin E. Previous research showed its potency appeared to be enhanced when it was consumed puréed – in ketchup or in the presence of olive oil.
Of 36 patients with heart disease, those taking the pill daily for two months saw their blood vessels widen by 53%. This was due to improved functioning of the endothelium, the inner wall cell lining of blood vessels, scientists believe.
The tomato pill had no effect on healthy volunteers whose blood vessels were already “normal”.