Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant – which means it helps protect cells in the body from damage that can lead to disease. With this power, tomatoes definitely becomes one of the best defense against stroke.
Men who love tomatoes have less chance of brain stroke, according to one study in which over a dozen years, men with relatively high levels of the antioxidant lycopene were 55 % less likely to have a brain stroke.
Lycopene is a substance that gives red color to vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and watermelons. For most people, the tomatoes are far the most important source of lycopene in the diet.
Laboratory studies have shown that the lycopene could play a significant role in fighting infection and blockage of blood vessels and that in fact it could be more successful than other antioxidants.
But scientists warn that the study has not showed that the tomatoes reduce the risk of brain stroke and say that other factors in men with high levels of lycopene may also play a role. Lycopene also helps prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.
There is also some evidence that cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and cervix could be reduced with increased lycopene intake. This hearty antioxidant may help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
Lycopene seems to be best available to the body when tomatoes are cooked and eaten in a meal that provides a small amount of fat. The study showed that when tomato juice was heated and mixed with oil, blood lycopene levels increased more than when plain, unheated tomato was consumed.