The link between high lycopene blood levels and lower stroke risk was even stronger when the scientists focused just on strokes due to blood clots (ischemic strokes). The men with the highest lycopene blood leves had a 59% lower risk of ischemic stroke compared to those with the lowest levels.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke. The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research.”
Retinol, alpha-tocopherol, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, also antioxidants, had no impact on stroke risk, the researchers noted.
What is lycopene?
Lycopene is a red carotenoid pigment which is found mainly in tomatoes that gives the fruit its color. Lycopene can also be found in some other fruits, such as watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya, and apricot.
Lycopene is an antioxidant. Many say that it promotes a healthy heart and reduces the risk of developing cancer. In 2011, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago said that lycopene could help prevent prostate cancer, especially in African American men.
Japanese scientists found that tomatoes contain a nutrient which could tackle the onset of vascular diseases.