No one has to remind you of the importance of green, leafy vegetables, but what about red, round fruit—specifically, tomatoes? This star of Italian-American cuisine and a darling of home gardeners is off the charts in lycopene, an antioxidant compound that has been linked to a reduced risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. Recently, a study published in the journal Neurology suggested that high levels of lycopene in the blood may offer protection against strokes. Finnish researchers followed more than 1,000 men ages 46 to 55 and found that those with the highest levels of lycopene were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest levels. Interestingly, it may be easier for the body to absorb lycopene from cooked tomato products (especially those with a small amount of oil or fat) than from raw tomatoes.
Microchange: Pizza Fridays!