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Saint Peters, MO 63376-6414

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Nutrition Stop

Orange Juice and Tomatoes for the Heart

More studies, more compelling evidence:  Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables is good for the heart.  Two new studies show that orange juice and tomatoes help lower heart disease risk.  The studies show the importance of eating vitamin-rich foods, said Sydney Smith, a cardiologist and chief scientific officer of the American Heart Association.  One study, conducted at Harvard, examined the blood lycopene levels of post-menopausal women.  Lycopene, the compound that makes tomatoes red, is a natural antioxidant.  Researchers evaluated 483 women who had serious heart problems.  They measured subjects' lycopene levels when the study started in 1992.  Those with the highest lycopene levels were 34 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those whose levels were lowest.  The orange juice study, involved 24 people with fat-clogged arteries.  Each of them drank two glasses of orange juice a day for six weeks.  Researchers then measured the subjects' blood pressure and found that it had dropped significantly.  Scientists aren't sure what caused the drop, but speculate that Vitamin C and potassium provides the positive effects.