Reduce your risk of clot-related strokes by 59%
November 17, 2012
Volume 2 | Issue 90
One of the risks for stroke is high blood pressure. A few years ago, researchers found that an antioxidant in red fruits and vegetables is very effective at lowering blood pressure. Now a new study says that this same antioxidant goes even further – it also helps prevent stroke.
In this study, researchers from Finland followed more than 1,000 middle-aged men (ages 46-55). For 12 years, they tracked their blood levels of lycopene, the carotenoid antioxidant, and evaluated their stroke risk.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers were looking at the effect of antioxidants in general on stroke risk. However, it became clear during the study period that lycopene was the most effective at preventing stroke. It stood out as considerably better than the others.
Just how effective was it? The researchers found that men with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood had substantially better protection. In fact, they were 55% less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest levels in their blood.
We’ve known lycopene was a super-nutrient for years. And our knowledge of its abilities just keeps growing and growing. What I found interesting about this study was something the lead author said. Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, “The shape of the lycopene molecule makes it very effective in being able to quench free radicals. We don’t really understand it entirely yet, but lycopene may have specific properties that protect the cell in a way other antioxidants may not.”
It’s possible lycopene may act in a similar way that nattokinase works. Natto, if you remember, helps keep blood clots from forming. These researchers found that lycopene was especially effective at preventing strokes caused by blood clots. Men with the highest lycopene levels were 59% less likely to have a clot-related stroke than those with lower levels. This is important because clots are one of the most common causes of stroke.
So which fruits and veggies are best at preventing stroke? An Ohio State University study in 2007 found that orange tomatoes tend to have the most bioavailable lycopene. They have even more than most red tomatoes. The researchers said orange tomatoes contain mostly tetra-cis lycopene. This is a special form of lycopene that your body can absorb about 250% better than most forms of lycopene.
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So eat plenty of orange tomatoes (or any red fruit/veggie). And feel free to cook them, as cooking makes the lycopene even more available for absorption. I’m not a big fan of tomatoes. For some reason, as much as I’ve tried, I’ve never adjusted to the taste. But I love salsa. And I eat a lot of it. If you don’t eat a lot of tomatoes, you may consider a readily available (at health food stores and online) supplement called Lyc-O-Mato. It’s one of the best tablet forms of lycopene on the market.
Your Insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.