So have you heard the recent hype about the new “tomato pill”?
The “tomato pill” contains lycopene which is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, which is a well know diet proven to prevent heart disease. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomato skin, but in its natural form it is poorly absorbed. Ateronon is the name of the new dietary tomato supplement. Preliminary results (only 150 people studied) suggest that ateronon may help reduce harmful fats in the blood and prevent the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels.
Further studies are needed in order to prove the heart healthy benefits and assess for any adverse reactions. The initial study was promising so we will have to wait and see what the future holds for the “tomato pill”.
At this time though, the recommendation is to consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables (including red fruits and vegetables that contain lycopene) to prevent heart disease. Cooked tomato products (tomato sauce, tomato paste) provide better absorption than raw tomatoes. Also the redder the fruit or vegetable the better – higher lycopene levels are found in redder foods.