Tomatoes, fresh or cooked can improve blood circulation, boost heart and vascular health and reduce the risk of stroke or deep vein thrombosis. The summary of a recent report claims that just 2 medium size tomatoes or a single serving of 100ml of tomato juice, tomato soup, pasta sauce or similar tomato product containing a sufficient percentage of tomato paste may be all it takes to provide a strong beneficial effect for improved blood circulation.
The report, compiled by NIZO Food Research, was commissioned by the Tomato Foundation, a diet advocacy NGO based in Spain, which is making an application to EFSA for a health claim similar to the one awarded to Provexis in 2009 for their tomato extract product Fruitflow.
The health effect comes from bioactive compounds in tomatoes that reduce blood platelet aggregation, which improves blood flow.
Gwen Young, Tomato Foundation president said in a statement, “We are very excited by the findings of this report, which reviews all the scientific data and references the existing health claim awarded in 2009. The report was prepared independently and clearly shows us the same health claim can apply for fresh tomato and tomato products.
“Building the case for an EFSA health claim for fresh tomato and tomato products is all about showing the powerful health effects of simple natural food. This is the most exciting tomato science news in modern times. We promote healthy diet and lifestyle as a means to prevent or reverse diet-related diseases.”
The Tomato Foundation is also investing in health programs and campaigns, with support from the cereals, vegetables and edible oils industries, in an effort to tackle the type-2 diabetes pandemic.
Gwen Young went on to explain, “The Foundation’s work promotes nutrition education for younger people. The under 25s are the fastest growing population suffering the effects of obesity and rising levels of type-2 diabetes. To do nothing is not an option.
"We have to turn around the massive rise in diet-related disease in this age group or the consequences for health systems will be catastrophic. Our work offers the food industry a way to support socially responsible activities and give something back to consumers”.
The next steps for our tomato health claim research are sample testing and human trials expected during 2018. If the claim is granted in Europe, the Foundation aims to make similar applications in other territories.
“We believe this research shines a light on tomato, which combines so easily, fresh or cooked, with healthy ingredients in recipes from around the world. Lifestyle as medicine and functional medicine are growing trends in primary health care. Diet is the new medicine and tomato is powerfully rich in nutrients.”
“So, why use Tomato for the name of a Foundation?” Gwen asks. “The Foundation’s name celebrates tomato as an icon of healthy diet. Tomato, as a word or image immediately means healthy and it’s easy to remember. It worked for Apple!”
The Tomato Foundation will present their latest work at the forthcoming Tomato Forum in Rome on June 8th and 9th.