Many studies agree that this juice is fabulous stuff.
The science says it bestows such great cardiovascular benefits because it’s packed with carotenoids, calcium, and it also delivers a thunderbolt’s worth of vitamin A.
Tomato juice is great at reducing both cholesterol and blood pressure, so researchers wanted to test how great.
Researchers recruited 184 men and 297 women. A few suffered from high cholesterol and 94 had hypertension or pre-hypertension. Their average ages were 56.3 and 58.4 years respectively.
For a year, these participants were given as much unsalted tomato juice to drink as they wanted, but it doesn’t look like they were exactly clamoring for the stuff, because the average participant only got through about one cup a day.
But maybe they should have been guzzling it, because after one year of chugging tomato juice, their systolic blood pressure had dropped from 141.2 to 137.0 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) and their diastolic pressure from 83.3 to 80.9 mmHg. Those are averages, so they don’t show the even better news – that the people who started out with the highest blood pressure saw the biggest reductions.
125 of the participants had high cholesterol or high blood fats. Their LDL cholesterol, which is the bad stuff that poses the greatest heart disease risk, dropped from 155 to 149.9 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
You might be thinking that these reductions don’t seem very impressive, but they are when you remember what caused them: drinking just one cup of tomato juice every day.
Also, they didn’t find any reduction in blood glucose, nor changes in HDL cholesterol (the good type) and triglycerides (blood fats), so it seems the effects were limited to reducing bad cholesterol.
To be sure that tomato juice alone was the cause of their dramatic drop, the scientists had them fill out a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study to make sure that nothing else about their lifestyles could have affected the outcome, so we know that the results are watertight.
This was the second time that this research team had looked at the effects of tomato juice. They also performed a 2015 study to see tomato juice might affect menopausal symptoms in middle-aged women, and they also happened to test their cholesterol as part of that.
In this one, they asked their 93 subjects to drink 200ml of tomato juice twice a day for eight weeks. This is a bit less than two cups per day.
Afterwards, 22 of the women with high triglycerides saw them drop substantially, and the ones with the highest scores at the start enjoyed the biggest falls.
Before you get too excited, the one big limitation in this study is that they didn’t gather enough detailed information about what the participants ate. This means we can’t know if the tomato juice was used to replace something unhealthy. If it replaced something sugary then that change alone might have been responsible for the health benefits, and not the tomato juice itself, but let’s not forget that the results are consistent with other studies, so it’s probably safe to assume that tomato juice really is that good for you!