A new Finnish study suggests that high blood levels of lycopene may significantly reduce the risk of stroke. Vegetables, especially tomatoes, are a significant source of lycopene.
The analysis was published in the journal Neurology, prospectively followed 1,031 men ages 46 to 55, measuring their blood levels of five antioxidants and recording incidents of stroke.
According to the journal, serum concentrations of carotenoids retinol and α-tocopherol were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. The association between the serum concentrations of lycopene α-carotene, β-carotene, α-tocopherol, and retinol and the risk of strokes was studied by using Cox proportional hazards models.
A total of 67 strokes occurred, and 50 of these were ischemic strokes during a median of 12.1 follow-up years. After adjustment for age, examination year, BMI, systolic blood pressure, smoking, serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, diabetes, and history of stroke, men in the highest quartile of serum lycopene concentrations had 59 percent and 55 percent lower risks of ischemic stroke and any stroke, compared with men in the lowest quartile.
The study shows that high serum concentrations of lycopene, as a marker of intake of tomatoes and tomato-based products, decrease the risk of any stroke and ischemic stroke in men.
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