What’s red and protects cardiovascular health?

For years we`ve been told that the Mediterranean diet, full of vegetables, is the way to guard against heart attack and stroke.

But Gorge H.W. Bush, former president of the U.S., admitted he didn`t like broccoli. And angry farmers dumped a load of it on the White House lawn. I share his view.

So I`m grateful now that the red tomato is believed to be the main vegetable for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. So what is the magic ingredient in tomatoes that fights heart attack and stroke?

Researchers at Cambridge University say that the lycopene in red tomatoes keeps the endothelial lining of the human artery (the inner part) healthy, decreasing the risk of blockage. We all know what happens when too much rust collects inside the plumbing in a house. The same scenario in arteries sets the stage for a variety of cardiovascular troubles.

Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene. It provides the distinctive red colour to fruits and vegetables. In addition, it’s a powerful antioxidant, 10 times more potent than Vitamin E. As fire produces ash, so human metabolism produces free radicals, which are waste removed by antioxidants.

Researchers studied patients with cardiovascular disease who were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (CLDs) and another group of healthy volunteers. Half of the subjects were given 7 milligrams of lycopene, the other half a placebo.

Eight weeks later researchers discovered that those taking lycopene showed increased blood flow in the forearm. But there was another interesting finding. The patients with cardiovascular disease, in spite of being treated aggressively with CLDs, still had relatively impaired function of the endothelium compared to the healthy volunteers.

Lycopene is also present in tomato soup, tomato paste, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and seafood sauce. It’s a rare day that I don’t eat a tomato which acts much like Drano keeping my arteries open. But I would not sleep well if I relied solely on tomatoes.

I continue to take several thousand milligrams of Vitamin C and lysine daily. Why? Because this combination is the only natural remedy I know that not only prevents, but reverses the atherosclerotic rust in coronary and other arteries.

Visit the web site www.docgiff.com to see dramatic before and after photos of how high amounts of C and Lysine can make old arteries new. You don’t need to be a doctor to see this dramatic change. This combo, Medi-C Plus, is available in Health Food Stores.

But lycopene isn`t just for keeping arteries healthy. Research shows it also fights prostate cancer and other malignancies.

Dr. Omar Kucuk, professor of medicine and oncology at Wayne State University, Michigan, is an authority on the ‘Red Power’ of tomatoes. He studied 26 patients who were scheduled to have surgery for prostate cancer.’

Some of these patients were prescribed 15 mg of a lycopene supplement twice daily, the others a placebo. Following the surgery those who took lycopene had smaller tumours, more likely to be confined to the prostate gland. Equally important, the cancer was less malignant.

Lycopene supplements resulted in another significant benefit. Both the PSA test (prostate specific antigen) used to diagnose prostate cancer, and the outcome of treatment were lower.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School studied 48,000 professionals to see if there was any association between eating fruits and vegetables and prostate cancer. They concluded that tomatoes and tomato-based products decreased the risk of this malignancy.

Another Harvard project, ‘The Physicians Health Study’ found a 41% reduction in the risk of prostate cancer when there were high blood levels of lycopene. It was the only compound that had this effect.

Lycopene also benefits females as it shows a significant and consistent effect in decreasing the risk of precancerous changes in the cervix. Other studies show it decreases the risk of stomach, bladder, lung, and breast malignancy.

Let’s end on another happy note, particularly for pizza lovers. Dr. Edward Giovannucci at The Harvard Medical School followed patients who had consumed tomatoes, tomato sauce or pizza more than twice a week. He reports they had up to 34% less risk of prostate cancer than those who rarely ate these foods.

See the web site www.docgiff.com. For comments info @docgiff.com.