Eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods is associated with a lower risk of stroke, according to new research.
The study found that people with the highest amounts of lycopene -- prevalent in tomatoes -- in their blood were 55% less likely to have a stroke than those with lower amounts.
The study followed 1,031 men in Finland between the ages of 46 and 65, over the course of 12 years.
Among the men with the lowest levels of lycopene, 25 of 258 men had a stroke. Among those with the highest levels, 11 of 259 men had a stroke.
"This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke," said study author Jouni Karppi from the University of Eastern Finland.
"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."
The study also looked at blood levels of the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and retinol, but found no association between the blood levels and risk of stroke.
The research is published in Neurology.
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