Mediterranean Diet: How to Lower Cholesterol Effortlessly by Including More Tomatoes in Your Diet

Published on 08/10/2007 in Spanish Lifestyle

Mediterranean dietThe traditional Mediterranean diet, rich in tomatoes, tomato products, and other carotenoids has been associated with a lower incidence of chronic heart disease. Recent scientific studies have shown that people who eat tomatoes and tomato products regularly are less likely to suffer from heart attacks than those who don't make tomatoes part of their diet.

Why?

Because tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene has been identified as the responsible substance for the antioxidant effects of tomatoes in many studies including a recent research that suggests that consumption of tomato products prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" guy. Oxidized cholesterol is considered the primary initial step leading to the formation of plaque in the arteries and consequently to heart attacks.

What is Lycopene & How it Will Help You Fight Heart Disease?

Lycopene is the red pigment found in several fruits and vegetables such as guava, rosehips, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and red chilies. But it mainly comes from tomatoes and tomato products. As a powerful antioxidant, lycopene prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol caused by free radicals -- highly unstable and destructive molecules that subject our cells to oxidative stress and continuous damage that eventually kills the cells.

Lycopene can also reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. During one study, for three months, 60 men were fed 60 milligrams of lycopene per day-the equivalent found in 1 kilo of tomatoes. At the end of the treatment period, the results showed a 14 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol in the blood.

How to Increase Absorption of Lycopene

An important consideration in studying lycopene is its absorption by our cells. Our tissues have to gulp lycopene from the food we eat and get it inside our cells before they can put it to some use. Research has shown that the level of lycopene found in our organs' tissues is a better indicator of disease prevention than the amount of lycopene we eat. Individuals who have a high concentration of lycopene in their tissues have a lower risk of heart attacks than those who have a low level.

Here are 3 ways you can increase absorption of lycopene

  1. Process the tomatoes with heat. Heat changes the chemical structure of lycopene and makes it ready for our cells to swallow it up. Some examples include tomato sauce, tomato paste, or tomato soup.
  2. Eat fresh tomatoes with fats such as olive oil.
  3. Eat products that contain lycopene with other food antioxidants. An example would be eating tomatoes with other vegetables such as in salads or eating a piece of fruit for dessert. Use olive oil and lemon juice as dressing, and you will have the perfect combination of lycopene and antioxidants.

Now that you know how important it is to include tomatoes and tomato products in your diet, the question is how are you going to include them in your daily meal? Here's how.

7 Ways to Include More Tomatoes in Your Diet

  • Make it a point to always have tomatoes at home. Bright red, ripe tomatoes have more lycopene than green or yellow.
  • Always include tomatoes in your salads. Use olive oil and lemon or vinegar as dressing
  • Eat pasta with tomato sauce.
  • Add some tomato slices to your sandwich.
  • Rub half a tomato on the bread you eat with your meal.
  • Always keep "no salt added" canned tomatoes on hand. They are very handy when you are in a hurry and need them for soups or sauces. One of my favorite brands is Muir Glen Organic, "no salt added" of course.
  • Whenever possible, visit your local farmers' market and look for locally grown tomatoes.

Follow these Mediterranean Diet tips, and lower your cholesterol today. Your children and grandchildren are depending on you to live a longer, stronger life without heart disease.

Written by: Emilia Klapp

About the author:

Emilia Klapp has a Bachelor in Nutrition Science and is certified as a Registered Dietitian by the American Dietetic Association. With her book “Your Heart Needs the Mediterranean Diet”, she has helped many people to prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol. For more information about the author and the book you can login at www.Mediterraneanheart.com.




Right arrow icon Send to friends   Right arrow icon Printer friendly version    Right arrow icon Submit your own article


Comments:

Only registered users can comment on this article. Please Sign In or Register now.

Comment Using Facebook:




Related articles in this category

5 Last Minute Tapas to Make at Home

A Spanish Dish To Include In Your Christmas Menu

All In All, Spain Delivers A Better Quality of Life

An Introduction to the world of olive oil

Budgeting in Spain

Buying a Berth For Your Boat in Spain

Christmas in Spain

Clothes Shopping in Spain

Costa de la Luz - Shhh, keep it a secret

Eating Habits in Spain - What you need to know

Friends in Spain, They Come And Go

Golfing in Costa de la Luz

Gourmet Delights In Southern Spain

Homemade Spanish Gazpacho Soup

Hotel Molino del Puente

How To Make A Tortilla Española "de San Sebastián"

Live in Spain But No More Holidays

Living in Puerto de la Duquesa

Mediterranean Diet – Eat Fruits and Vegetables to Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure

Mediterranean Diet: 5 Ways to Living a Longer, Stronger Life Without Heart Disease

Mediterranean Diet: Can Garlic Protect Us From More Than Vampires

Mediterranean Diet: How to Lower Cholesterol Effortlessly by Including More Tomatoes in Your Diet

Mediterranean Diet: Mending Your Arteries after the Holidays

Mediterranean Diet: Should You Drink Wine or Eat Grapes?

Mediterranean Diet: Why You Should Make Extra Virgin Olive Oil Part of Your Diet

New Year - Are You Ready For A New Lifestyle?

Out and About in Duquesa

Quotes To Sum Up Life In Spain

Relax And Unwind On The Costa Calida

Seven Tips To Help You Learn Spanish

Spain is Character Building

Spain Vs Italy - Let The Gastronomic Battle Commence

Spanish Coasts: North Vs South

Spanish Food

Spanish Telly At Christmas

Spanish Wills

Sukhothai - A Thai adventure in Marbella

Surviving the Spanish Weather in Summer

The Absence Of Women In Spanish Bars

The Claims Sheet - Consumer Rights

The end of poor service and rogue traders?

The Mediterranean Diet - What's it About?

The Mediterranean Diet Is Also About Portions

Top 10 Spain Christmas Gifts

Top Destinations in Costa de la Luz

Tourists are Doing it for Themselves

Urbi et Orbi …

Visiting the Hairdressers in Spain

Weather Patterns in Spain

What Happens When English Gets Mixed With Spanish In Spain?

Why I Chose Costa de la Luz to Live

Why The Spanish Football League Is A Truly Unique Sporting Stage

Will Golf Ever Go Out?

Working From Home In Spain

Click here for a list of all the articles from our magazine 

Spain insurance services


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x