Studies prove health benefits of tomato extract

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The Health & Fitness Blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other Health and fitness related information.

Studies prove health benefits of tomato extract
Two new studies, undertaken at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen and in press in the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have concluded that tomatoes contain a unique extract capable of helping keep a normal healthy blood flow an important factor in maintaining heart and cardiovascular health.

In announcing the findings, Professor Asim Duttaroy, now based at the University of Oslo, commented these conclusions are the result of many years of research and leave no doubt that we have found a unique food ingredient which has proven blood health properties.

In maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, it is important to ensure that blood flow is maintained in a normal, healthy way. This is regulated, in part, by components in the blood called platelets. Their main function is to look after the circulatory system. After an injury, platelets stick together to create a barrier to help prevent bleeding; they also help wounds to heal. However, platelets become more sticky as we get older and are also affected by other lifestyle factors such as our diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and stress. Unfortunately, this can lead to spontaneous clotting of the blood inside the blood vessels themselves which can cause an unwanted and unhealthy blood clot.

Tomatoes were already considered a heart healthy food but Professor Duttaroy and his team of scientists at the Rowett Institute discovered and isolated a particular extract of ripe tomatoes that helps maintain normal healthy blood flow by helping to keep platelets smooth, and so unlikely to stick together. The unique extract, named FruitflowTM, is found in the yellow fluid around the seeds of ripe tomatoes.

The studies' authors believe that with the proven benefits of Fruitflow, and the fact that this is a food rather than a drug, it could be the preferred option for those wanting to help maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.

Professor Duttaroy explained: "For people who do not already have a heart problem but want to maintain their heart health, there is still much debate around the impact of undesirable effects vs. benefits for recommending the use of drugs such as aspirin."

"Our results are conclusive; Fruitflow reduces blood stickiness in 97% of people" continued Professor Duttaroy. "When consumed regularly in a juice drink, we see similar effects on the blood as we see when low dose aspirin is administered. But Fruitflow is not a drug - it comes from a natural source, tomatoes, and there no adverse effects when it is consumed".

By isolating the active ingredient out of the tomato and putting it into a drink, the researchers found that the ingredient is absorbed into the body more quickly and effectively than if it was digested with the other solid parts of the tomato. This leads to an immediate benefit after drinking Sirco, which cannot be achieved by eating tomatoes.

The studies also showed the blood health benefits take effect within only 1½ to 3 hours after consumption. This means that it works from the very day it is consumed, rather than having to wait several weeks for the health benefit.

Since the studies were undertaken, the first commercially available food containing Fruitflow has been launched in the UK. Sirco, a fruit drink which contains the flavourless extract, has been manufactured based on the research of Professor Duttaroy and his colleagues.

In general, foods with proven benefits have become an established part of a heart healthy diet and lifestyle for consumers. However, this has traditionally been focused on foods developed to help reduce risk factors such as raised cholesterol. Outlining the importance of the research to consumer health, Professor Duttaroy suggested: "Our research has meant for the first time we have a food product available with proven blood health benefits. This complements other heart health foods, allowing people to additionally address another very important factor affecting heart health. All it takes is the consumption each day of one glass of juice containing the extract - what could be easier?"

Michael Livingston, Director of heart charity, HEART UK, welcomed the new studies saying: "This is very important research as demonstrated by its acceptance for publication in such a highly regarded journal." He added: "This is another important step in giving us new ways to help maintain a healthy heart. Until now we had no foods available specifically to help address blood health in this way. These results prove that as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, consumption of the extract in the juice drink Sirco helps maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system."

Posted : 12/06/2006 12:23:22

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