Hypertension :: Tomato extract may help lower blood pressure
A dietary supplement derived from tomatoes may help treat moderately elevated blood pressure, the results of a small study suggest. Researchers in Israel found that a daily dose of tomato extract helped lower blood pressure among 31 men and women with mild hypertension.
On an average, their systolic pressure –the top number in a blood-pressure reading –dropped 10 points, while their diastolic pressure, or bottom number, dipped four points, both statistically significant differences.
The supplement, sold as Lyc-O-Mato, contains several plant compounds found in tomatoes. Among them is lycopene, an antioxidant that some studies suggest may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Antioxidants, such as lycopene and vitamins C and E, help neutralize oxygen free radicals — molecules that are a natural byproduct of metabolism — can damage body cells over time. This ”oxidative stress” is thought to contribute to a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease.
The antioxidant effects of the tomato extract may explain its apparent benefit on blood pressure, according to the report in the American Heart Journal.
People who have mild high blood pressure or who have high-normal blood pressure would be the ”ideal candidates” for treatment with the extract, said study co-author Dr. Esther Paran of the University of the Negev in Beer Sheva. It’s these individuals, she noted, who are often advised to use lifestyle changes to rein in their blood pressure levels.
However, people who are already being treated for high blood pressure should talk with their doctors before trying tomato extract, Paran told.
Eating a diet rich in tomato products and other antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables is certainly a smart move, Paran said. But, she added, a person would need to down about four tomatoes to get the nutrients in one tomato extract capsule.