Great news for all the ketchup lovers out there- eating more tomato-based foods can actually lower your risk for stroke! A new study found that men who had the highest levels of lycopene, which is an antioxidant found in high levels in tomato products, they reduced their risk of stroke by as much as 55% when compared to men with the lowest levels. That’s a pretty impressive statistic and it just goes to show how important diet is to heart health!
So why are tomatoes such a powerful deterrent against strokes? It may be due to lycopene’s ability to decrease inflammation and prevent against the formation of blood clots. Although there is no set standard on how much lycopene one should consume daily, it is recommended that you consume at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables per day, since this is the amount shown to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But ideally, when it comes to vegetables and fruit, more is typically better. I like to recommend at least 4 cups per day.
If you love ketchup and marinara sauce, you’re in luck! Just 1 cup of marinara sauce has more than 31,000 mcg of lycopene, 1 cup of tomato juice contains 21,960mcg, and one tablespoon of ketchup has 2,146 mcg! And if you don’t love tomatoes, that’s OK to. Lycopene can also be found in watermelon, grapefruit, mangoes, and papayas.
Artichoke Turkey Pizza
TIME: Hands On: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Servings:
Makes 4 servings (1/4 pizza each)
· 1 prebaked thin pizza crust (12-inch)
· 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1-1/2 cups = 6 oz)
· 1 can (14.5 oz each) Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, drained
· 1 cup chopped cooked turkey
· 1 can (14 oz each) artichoke hearts in water, drained, coarsely chopped
· 1 can (2.25 oz each) sliced ripe olives, drained
· 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place crust on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with tomatoes, turkey, artichokes, olives and Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
· Nutrition Facts(Amount per Serving)
· Calories 512
· Total fat 18 g
· Saturated fat 9 g
· Carbohydrate 47 g
· Dietary fiber 3 g
· Protein 37 g