No matter which side of the produce aisle you think tomatoes belong on, you’re going to want to make sure they’re regulars in your shopping cart. People who consume more tomatoes may have a decreased risk of stroke, according to a new study in Neurology.
Researchers in Finland followed more than 1,000 men between the ages of 46 and 65 for about 12 years, testing their blood levels of lycopene, the bright red antioxidant found in certain fruits and veggies. The results? Nearly 10% of the men with the lowest lycopene levels had a stroke during that time, compared to just 4% of those who had the highest levels.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” said study author Jouni Karppi, PhD, in a press release. “The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide.”
Tomatoes and tomato products (yes, ketchup counts!) are the best sources of lycopene, but pink produce, such as watermelon, pink guava, and pink grapefruit are good sources of the antioxidant, too.