Regular intake of lycopene in tomato juice may reduce blood levels of inflammatory compounds in overweight women, says a new study from Tehran.
In the randomized controlled trial, blood concentrations of inflammatory markers (interleukin-8 and TNF-alpha) were measured in 106 overweight and obese women with an average age of 23. They received either 330 ml of tomato juice or water each day for 20 days (1). The study results showed that overweight women displayed significant reductions in inflammatory markers compared with increases in the control group. No significant changes were observed in the obese participants.
The researchers concluded that increased intake of tomatoes may provide a useful approach for reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, which are associated with obesity. Especially in chronic inflammatory conditions, like obesity, the potential beneficial role of nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties such as lycopene can be important. It is unclear why more significant changes were seen in the overweight, compared with the obese, group, the scientists commented. It could be possible that the anti-inflammatory actions of lycopene were not potent enough to reduce the heightened level of baseline inflammation that was present in the obese group.