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Cooked tomatoes may prevent cardiovascular disease

4th May 2006

UK scientists are claiming that cooked tomatoes can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from Liverpool's John Moores University believe that lycopene, a substance that becomes available when tomatoes are cooked, can prevent the build up of a thick deposit in the body's arteries.

"If you have too much LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries feeding your heart and brain," explained lead researcher Dr Gordon Lowe.

He added that together with other substances, LDL cholesterol forms a thick, hard deposit that clogs the arteries, bringing about a condition called atherosclerosis.

"We believe that lycopene could play a vital role in preventing atherosclerosis by stopping the lipoproteins from becoming oxidised," he continued.

The scientists are set to investigate the best method for cooking the tomatoes and will be stressing the importance of including processed tomatoes as part of a daily diet.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for around one in three deaths in the UK.