Drinking unsalted tomato juice has surprising impact on cholesterol

The modern Western diet drives high blood pressure and elevated LDL 'bad' cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for developing a variety of cardiovascular issues. Reducing blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels remains a key change that can help reduce one's risk of heart disease and stroke, and a new study reveals making that change may be as simple as drinking unsalted tomato juice.

The study recently appeared in Food Science & Nutrition, where researchers say they tapped 297 women and 184 men who were given one task: drink unsalted tomato throughout a full year. The participants were allowed to drink whatever quantity of tomato juice they wanted as long as it was unsalted.

Of the nearly 500 study participants, 94 had untreated high blood pressure or were untreated and in the pre-high blood pressure stage. After the year of tomato drinking came to an end, these participants were found to have experienced what is described as a significant decrease in high blood pressure levels.

The researchers found that on average, these participants experienced a systolic blood pressure decrease from 141.2 to 137mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure decrease from 83.3 to 80.8mmHg. The benefits also seemingly extended to LDL 'bad' cholesterol levels, as well, with researchers finding an average decrease from 155 to 149mg/dL in 125 participants who had high bad cholesterol levels.

The researchers note that the change was similar in the participants regardless of their age and whether they were male or female. Of course, it should be emphasized that the study involved unsalted tomato juice — the high sodium levels found in most tomato juices may cause an increase in high blood pressure levels and may have a negative effect on one's cardiovascular health of the long term.