Mediterranean Diet to Lower Cholesterol

The popular Mediterranean diet, rich in tomato products or rich in tomatoes and other carotenoids has been associated with a lower risk of heart diseases. Recent studies have revealed that including tomatoes in one’s diet reduces the risk of heart attacks.

Why a diet rich in tomatoes reduces the risk of heart diseases?

Lycopene present in tomatoes helps to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL). Oxidized cholesterol is considered as the main initial step to the formation of plaque in the arteries, which leads to heart attacks.

Lycopene: How it helps to fight heart diseases

Lycopene is the bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other several fruits and vegetables like guava, pink grapefruit, watermelon, rose-hips and red chilies. Thus, lycopene helps to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) caused by free radicals. Apart from that, lycopene can also lower the blood cholesterol.

Three ways to increase consumption of lycopene

  • Heat the tomato soup. Heat alters lycopene’s chemical structure, enabling easy absorption by our cells.
  • Consume fresh tomatoes with fats like olive oil.
  • Consume products that have lycopene with other antioxidant foods. For example, eat tomatoes with fruits as dessert, or with other vegetables as in salads. Use lemon juice and olive oil as dressing.

Ways to add tomatoes in your daily diet:

Now, that you’ve learnt the importance of tomatoes, the question is how can you include tomatoes in your diet regularly. Here are a few tips to include tomatoes in your daily meals:

  • Make it a point that you always have tomatoes at home. Choose bright red tomatoes instead of yellow or green ones, for bright red tomatoes have more lycopene.
  • Always add tomatoes in your salads. For dressing, use lemon and olive oils.
  • Have pasta with tomato sauce.
  • When you eat sandwich, don’t forget to include some tomato slices.
  • Rub some tomatoes on your bread and eat.

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