Does a tomato a day keep mortality away?

  • Mazidi M & al.
  • Br J Nutr
  • 22 Aug 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Tomato or lycopene intake is tied to reduced total and all-cause mortality and improved cardiometabolic risk factors.
  • Tomatoes are linked to reductions specifically in coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke mortality.

Why this matters

  • These authors say data were lacking on links between tomato/lycopene intake and mortality.
  • However, findings have demonstrated benefits for lipid profiles, BP, and cardiovascular disease.

Key results

  • Highest tomato intake vs lowest was linked to reductions (risk ratios, fully adjusted model) in:
    • Total mortality: 0.86;
    • Cerebrovascular mortality: 0.70; and
    • CHD mortality: 0.76 (all P<.001>
  • Lycopene intake showed quite similar benefits.
  • High levels of C-reactive protein attenuated the lycopene effects. 
  • Systolic BP, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and other metabolic and inflammatory markers also improved with increased tomato or lycopene intake (P<.001>
  • No effect seen on BMI, diastolic BP, triglycerides.
  • Obesity did not change associations.

Study design

  • Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999-2010) for 23,935 participants (mean age, 47.6 years; 48.8% men), with 76.4 months of follow-up.
  • High tomato intake was considered to be 1.8 cups/day; lowest intake was 0.02 cups/day.
  • Lycopene intake ranged from 265 to 12,463 μg/day.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • Self-reported intake.
  • Residual confounding possible.
  • Causality not established.