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The relation between lycopene, tomato products and cardiovascular diseases

ANKE WEBERLING, VOLKER BÖHM, KATI FRÖHLICH*
*Corresponding author
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Institute of Nutrition Bioactive Plant Products, Dornburger Str. 25-29, Jena, 07743, Germany

Abstract

The red pigment lycopene is the major carotenoid in tomatoes. Tomato products represent a considerable partof the diet consumed in Mediterranean countries. Results of numerous human studies indicate that people consuming aMediterranean diet have a lower cardiovascular disease risk. This review gives an overview of the beneficial role of lycopene in prevention of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Besides lycopene, tomatoes contain anumber of other antioxidant micronutrients which could possibly act synergistically. This could be one reason for the partlyinconsistent results of epidemiological and intervention studies about the correlation between tomato products or lycopenealone and cardiovascular diseases.