Eating Tomatoes Every Day Has An Unexpected Effect On Your Blood Pressure

What's not to love about a tomato? Tomatoes add a little juiciness to your favorite sandwich, and they liven up any salad. The thick, tangy tomato sauce clings to angel hair pasta. Unlike other fruits (yes, tomatoes are biologically fruits), you don't bite into tomatoes as a snack. Instead, you can cut one up and pair it with mozzarella cheese.

The versatile tomato might also be good for your blood pressure. Although normal blood pressure is 120/80 or below, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost half of the U.S. population has high blood pressure. It's important to get your blood pressure checked often because high blood pressure doesn't always have symptoms. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Getting plenty of sleep and exercise, managing your weight, limiting your alcohol, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet are all ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is the best diet for hypertension because it emphasizes low-fat protein, healthy fat, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Yet tomatoes have specific nutrients that could keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.

Tomato's lycopene could help reduce blood pressure

The National Institutes of Health advises people with high blood pressure to consume foods with at least twice the potassium to sodium. A tomato has 292 milligrams of potassium but only 6.15 milligrams of sodium. Tomatoes will also help keep your fluids in balance because they're 94% water.

A 2023 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that among more than 7,000 people aged 55 to 80 years old, people with high blood pressure who ate more tomatoes had lower diastolic blood pressure. Also, people who already had mild high blood pressure had lower high blood pressure if they ate a moderate amount of tomatoes. Those eating more than 110 grams of tomatoes a day (about a large tomato) had a 36% lower risk of high blood pressure than those eating fewer than 44 grams a day.

The lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful carotenoid that has 10 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E. It might be the lycopene that is key to lowering blood pressure without medication. According to a 2022 systematic review in the Journal of Herbal Medicine, lycopene supplements can reduce systolic blood pressure by an average of 2.63 points. Lycopene works best in people who already have high blood pressure, especially if they take 15 milligrams of lycopene for at least 8 weeks.

Other benefits of tomatoes

Tomatoes aren't just great for your blood pressure, according to a 2022 review in Biology. The lycopene and beta-carotene in tomatoes can help your body fight cancer by preventing cell damage caused by oxidative stress. The antioxidants in tomatoes also interrupt the signaling pathways that cause cancer to develop. Your body better absorbs the cancer-fighting lycopene when tomatoes are soaked in olive oil and then heated. Tomatoes have been specifically researched for their ability to reduce prostate cancer.

The vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids in tomatoes could also protect your brain against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Combined with diabetes drugs, the tomato's lycopene can help manage blood glucose levels, but more research is needed. You could also improve your gut microbiome by eating tomatoes every day because they increase the good bacteria in your gut to reduce inflammation. Exercisers might enjoy tomato juice and other tomato products to help their bodies recover from the oxidative stress associated with heavy exercise sessions.