Tomato Juice Appears to Reduce Inflammation

Regular consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products has been associated with lowered blood pressure and, to a lesser extent, a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. The health-related benefits of tomato products are thought to be derived from carotenoids such as lycopene. These nutrients are also believed to improve immune system function, an important factor given the role of immune and inflammatory processes in the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

In this placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover trial, 26 healthy young volunteers were assigned into two groups. Patients in both groups consumed either a tomato-based drink containing 5.7 mg of lycopene, 3.7 mg of phytoene, 2.7 mg of phytofluene, 1 mg of beta-carotene, and 1.8 mg of alpha-tocopherol, or a placebo drink each day for 26 days, separated by a washout period. Participants maintained their normal diet during the study. Markers for inflammation and immune response were measured using blood samples; DNA damage to basal lymphocytes was also examined.

Production of TNF-alpha, a mediator for inflammation, was reduced by 34.4 percent after 26 days of tomato drink consumption. No changes in TNF-alpha production were observed after consumption of the placebo drink. Other parameters were not significantly modified by the treatment.

The authors concluded that “modest effects of the regular intake of a tomato drink, providing small amounts of carotenoids, were found on the production of inflammatory mediators, such as TNF-alpha, in young healthy volunteers.” They added, “Future intervention trials in subjects with low carotenoid status and/or compromised immune system will resolve the issue of whether carotenoids modulate immune parameters in humans.”

Riso P, Visioli F, Grande S, et al. Effect of a tomato-based drink on markers of inflammation, immunomodulation, and oxidative stress. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2006;54(7):2563-2566.

Emed Comment:

A great way to increase the amount of tomatoes you eat is to include them in the Hooper Shake. Have fun with it. Change the ingredients and find new combinations that work for you.

If all else fails, consider a glass of “V8” at least that is a start in the right direction.