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Eat tomatoes for a healthy heart

People who add a small quantity of tomato in their breakfast and lunch, could have healthy heart, maintains a study.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 07, 2007 17:57 IST

A new study in Britain suggests that by regular intake of tomatoes can significantly reduce heart disease.

The scientists also advised people with high cholesterol to start taking tomatoes or drink tomato juice to help reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Tomatoes have long been considered a healthy food. Researchers in the new study included 21 volunteers, aged between 20-49 and with normal cholesterol levels.

Each volunteer spent three weeks without consuming tomato products. Then they spent three weeks taking either 30gm of tomato puree or drank 400ml of tomato juice everyday.

During the experiment, researchers took regular blood samples of the volunteers to check cholesterol levels and found that those added a small quantity of tomato in their breakfast, lunch and tea, saw their Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels dropped significantly over a period of three weeks.

The LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol. High levels of this cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease.

Researchers at the University of Oulo in Finland said the cholesterol levels dropped by six percent and LDL levels by 13 percent in people who added tomatoes in their meals, the online edition of the Daily Mail reported.

"The changes we saw can be regarded as significant, considering that the time period was only three weeks and all the volunteers had normal cholesterol levels to start with," scientists said in their findings published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Less than five-millimoles of fat per litre of blood in individuals is considered healthy. Nearly 70 percent of people aged over 45 in the study had high levels of cholesterol.