Lycopene, the unique antioxidant in tomatoes that’s famous for reducing prostate cancer risk, may also help drop elevated cholesterol, reports a study conducted by University of Adelaide scientists. They found that habitual consumption of lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes and papayas was as effective as low-dose statins for cholesterol reduction.
They note that lycopene is particularly effective at combating “bad” LDL cholesterol. The researchers estimate that lycopene can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent. You can reach your 25 mg daily target of lycopene by eating a half a can of tomato paste, two raw tomatoes or one glass of tomato juice. Processed tomato products like tomato paste contain significantly more lycopene than raw tomatoes, and have more sodium, so fresh is best.
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