December 2009
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Calculating Cholesterol – Tomato Ketchup has been a big family favorite addition for generations. It is the most popular sauce in the United Kingdom. We can have it with breakfast lunch and dinner. Where would the great British fried breakfast of bacon and eggs be without Tomato Ketchup? Same for sausages and mash or burgers or bacon rolls or fish and chips, the list goes on and on. I even know people who put their favorite tomato ketchup on a roast dinner!

For years now, it has been known that tomatoes are good for our health, including reducing the risk of prostate cancer. One study showed that the risk of prostate cancer can be reduced by 45% by eating 10 portions of tomatoes a day. New research has been recently completed to see if there is anything in tomatoes that will affect the cholesterol levels in our blood. The study was carried out by a research team in Finland, at the University of Oulo.

Tomatoes have enjoyed Superfood status for years now due to their antioxidant qualities which help to reduce the damage to cells in our body. The researchers started with the chemical called lycopene, which has already been proven on Prostate cancer. Lycopene is the red pigment that gives tomatoes their colour and is most concentrated in the skin of the tomato.

Researchers started by calculating cholesterol levels of volunteers between the ages of 20 and 49. Twenty-one volunteers were selected as having normal levels of cholesterol. All of the volunteers spent the first 3 weeks of the trial excluding tomatoes and all tomato based products from their diet. The volunteers then started adding Tomato Ketchup to their meals for another three weeks.

The average Total Cholesterol level of the group of volunteers was 4.5 millimoles of fat per litre of blood at the end of the tomato free period. After then taking tomato ketchup every day for the next 3 weeks the average had fallen to 4.19mmols. LDL levels also reduced, 2.56 millimoles per litre down to 2.18 mmols.

The report has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition as the results are regarded as significant, especially producing such a large reduction in Cholesterol levels within just three weeks.

Doctors say that of all the people in the United Kingdom, over seventy percent of them have total cholesterol levels above 5 mmols. Healthy levels of cholesterol are considered to be anything below 5 millimoles of fat per litre of blood. Doctors are targeted to get reductions in their patients cholesterol levels to below this 5 mmols level. They are focusing on reducing ‘bad’ ldl cholesterol low density lipoprotein and increasing levels of ‘good’ hdl cholesterol, high density lipoprotein.

So the UK’s favourite ketchup could be good for the heart by reducing both total cholesterol and ldl cholesterol levels. Doctors can now advise patients with high cholesterol to start eating ketchup or drinking tomato juice to help reduce their risk of getting heart attacks and strokes.

Your first steps towards identifying the health of your heart and circulation should be Calculating Cholesterol levels in your blood.

Sue Roberts

To find out more about Cholesterol and how it affects your Heart Health, please visit and Get your FREE Tips on Keeping Your Heart Healthy.

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