Researchers in Japan have recently discovered that a compound found in tomatoes may help reduce excess fat in the bloodstream and lower the risk of vascular diseases.
Published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, the study concluded that the compound 9-oxo-octadecadienoic, which is present in tomatoes, aids in fatty acid oxidation, thereby regulating hepatic lipid metabolism. This can help prevent dyslipidemia, a condition caused by high levels of fat in the bloodstream, which has been known to cause diseases such as atherosclerosis and cirrhosis.
Dr. Teruo Kawada, who led the study at Kyoto University, said finding this kind of disease-fighting compound in a common food could be a great help in the battle against obesity-related illnesses.
"It means that the tomato allows people to easily manage the onset of dyslipidemia through their daily diet," said Kawada.
According to the American Heart Association, 98.8 million Americans over the age of 20 have cholesterol levels higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The AHA says that a cholesterol level of 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high, and that individuals with more than 240 mg/dL run double the risk of coronary heart disease than those with levels lower than 200 mg/dL.