When it comes to keeping your body in good health and protecting it from disease, getting plenty of antioxidants is key.

That’s why I wasn’t too surprised when I saw the news on this humble fruit that normally doesn’t get too much press.

As it turns out, it can slash your risk of stroke, play a role in the fight against cancer, and even help reduce inflammation and prevent blood clots in your arteries!

What is this magnificent and tasty fruit?

The good ‘ole tomato! (And yes, it’s a fruit…)

In one very recent study, published in the journal Neurology, Finnish researchers found that tomatoes can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 55 percent! [1]

The study followed over one-thousand men between the ages of 46 and 65. At the start of the study, they measured each participant’s blood levels of lycopene – the nutrient found in tomatoes responsible for these protective effects.

They then followed these men for 12 years.

Researchers also looked at other antioxidants like beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol, but found no link between those and stroke risk.

So it turns out that tomatoes are quite the powerhouse when it comes to protecting you against stroke.

But that’s not all they can do…

A study done early last year at the University of Portsmouth found that lycopene can slow the growth of, or in some cases kill, prostate cancer cells! [2]

More studies need to be done on the cancer-fighting end of things, to be sure. But so far, things are looking pretty promising.

Lycopene is the antioxidant in tomatoes that gives them their red colour. It’s also found in watermelon, mango and grapefruit.

But tomatoes rule the roost in terms of how much lycopene you get per gram. For example, 1 cup of tomato juice will give you around 21,960 micrograms (mcg) of lycopene, compared to just 1,745 mcg in half a grapefruit.

The best way to get your lycopene (and enjoy its protective effects) is by eating cooked tomatoes. This breaks down the fibre and helps your body more easily absorb the lycopene.

Also, adding some fat in the form of olive oil or any oil you prefer, can also increase absorption.

So what are you waiting for? Add some tomatoes to your dinner, your salads, or enjoy them in any other way you see fit… your body will thank you for it!

One more thing – why not treat your body right and take advantage of your FREE Fitness Consultation (an $87 value).

During this consult, you’ll receive detailed information on how to get fit and trim that’s tailored to YOUR body.

References:

1. J. Karppi, J. A. Laukkanen, J. Sivenius, K. Ronkainen, S. Kurl. Serum lycopene decreases the risk of stroke in men: A population-based follow-up study. Neurology, 2012; 79 (15): 1540

2. Simone Elgass, Alan Cooper, Mridula Chopra. Lycopene inhibits angiogenesis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and rat aortic rings. British Journal of Nutrition, 2011; : 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114511005800