We all know that we should eat our fruits and vegetables, but a new study suggests that they could also help prevent inflammation.  According to a study conducted by researchers from UC Davis in cooperation with National Center for Food Safety and Technology in Illinois and Penn State University investigated the effects of certain tomato products and found some interesting results.

Scientists have grown increasingly interested in properties of tomatoes, as they contain the compound lyocpene, a powerful antioxidant, as well as vitamins A, C, fiber, potassium and beta-carotene. All of these nutrients do a body good, but tomatoes may also help stave off chronic conditions, aided by increased inflammation.

That tomato in your sandwich may be more health than you thought. Photo credit: Flickr user StOrmz

The study, presented at the Experimental Biology meeting on April 19th, evaluated the effects of processed tomatoes on vasodilatation and C-reactive protein in overweight and obese participants. The study was a multi-center, randomized and controlled to ensure specific findings.

Diets of 56 participants of the study were enriched with processed tomato products or non-tomato products with similar calorie amounts, as well as sodium and sugar levels. Participants had a low-tomato diet for a period of three weeks followed by a six period of either the high tomato or low tomato diet. At six weeks participants were evaluated for the effects of the tomato rich or poor diets on vasodilatation and C-reactive protein.

Results of the study found that the high-tomato diet group experienced a C-reactive protein level that was lower in response to a high-fat meal than compared to the low-tomato control group. The high-tomato diet was also associated with increased mean vessel diameter, but no significant mediated vasodilatation was observed. Researchers speculated that vasodilatation was impeded due to the high BMIs of the participants of the study.

Based on the results, researchers concluded that processed tomatoes and a high-tomato diet can provide a protective role against inflammation, but overweight and obese individuals see less benefit than individuals with healthy BMIs.

Inflammation, although one of the body’s defenses against injury and illness, if occurs regularly, may be a significant component of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis to name a few.

Battling the onset of inflammation could be a way to incorporate preventative health into daily life.