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Study finds tomatoes tied to lower stroke risk

October 10, 2012

There are many foods associated with healthy aging, but the results of a new study suggest tomatoes may provide some of the most significant benefits. Researchers from Finland believe a chemical found in tomatoes could considerably reduce the risk of stroke.

Published in the journal Neurology, the study measured the levels of the chemical lycopene in more than 1,000 study participants. After separating the subjects into two groups based on their levels of the chemical, researchers tracked their health for 12 years. At the end of the study, more than twice as many members of the low lycopene group had suffered a stroke than those with higher levels of the chemical.

The results of the study are just the latest evidence of the benefits of antioxidants. Specifically, lycopene has been observed lowering the levels of inflammation and reducing the risk of blood clots, both of which are associated with preventing strokes.

"The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research." said Dr. Jouni Karppi, the study's lead author.

While the study points to tomatoes as a food that can lower stroke risk, they are not the only dietary option that offers such benefits. For instance, citrus fruits hold many of the same advantages. According to a study published earlier this year in the journal Stroke, flavonoids, a common antioxidant, was tied to a 19 percent reduced risk of stroke in women.

Finding an effective method of stroke prevention is a key component of healthy aging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 140,000 people die from strokes in the United State each year.