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Tomatoes key to lowering stroke risk

Vegetables are good for our health, but some may be able to reduce the risk of stroke. A recent study indicates that a chemical called lycopene helps to protect against stroke. Rich in lycopene, tomatoes could be the key to lowering stroke risk. In the study, over 1,000 men were tracked over the course of 12 years. They were split into groups based on the lycopene levels in their blood. Over the course of the study, the group with the lowest lycopene levels suffered 25 strokes, while the group with high lycopene levels experienced 11. The results from the study indicate that eating a diet rich in lycopene could cut stroke risk by 55%. Lycoepene is an anti-oxidant, found in many red produce items including tomatoes, peppers,  watermelons, pink grapefruit, and guava. Lycopene is also responsible for the produce’s beautiful red hues. Researchers believe the lycopene acts to reduce inflammation and prevents blood clotting. While the study emphasizes the intake of red produce to regulate stroke risk, researchers add that other fruits and vegetables should not be neglected as they provide many other health benefits. While The Stroke Association has called for further research, this initial study gives many who are at high-risk for stroke a good place to start. It should also be mentioned, those who smoke have a lower level of lycopene in their blood, possibly enhancing their stroke risk. Diets full of vegetables and fruit provide the body with great health benefits including weight management, immune system support, and better physical function.  An easy-to-find vegetable and high in lycopene, tomatoes could be the key to lowering stroke risk. Sources: BBC News Health - WebMD - Reuters Health -
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