STUDY: Tomatoes ripe with big health benefits

Posted at 7:42 PM, Oct 08, 2012

(CBS) - A new study, published in the journal Neurology, finds there may be some big health benefits to eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods.

Researchers followed about 1000 men in Finland and tested their blood for Lycopene, found in tomatoes and tomato based foods. People with the highest amounts of Lycopene in their blood were 55% less likely to have a stroke.

"Lycopene is an antioxidant, so it may help prevent damage to the walls of our blood vessels. and really this is how a stroke might, really something that might lead to a stroke," said Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietician  for the Unversity Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Nutritionists say you can get more Lycopene from tomatoes if you cook them. It breaks down the tomato's cell walls and makes it easier for your body to absorb the antioxidants.

More research is needed to confirm the study’s results. But experts say everyone should still eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy.

"We're not just talking about stroke. we're talking about high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease. a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic disease," said Cimperman.