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The meta-analysis, published in Nutrients, pooled the data from six studies that compared the effects of lycopene in capsules or in tomato-based foods to placebo in people with high blood pressure, slightly elevated blood pressure (prehypertension), or normal blood pressure. A total of 550 people participated in the studies, taking lycopene in amounts ranging from 4.5 to 15 mg per day for 4 to 16 weeks.
The analysis of the pooled data showed the following:
“Our present study suggests that lycopene supplementation above 12 mg per day might effectively decrease systolic blood pressure, particularly among Asians or populations with higher baseline systolic blood pressure,” the authors of the analysis said. “As a common disease among adults, hypertension is now a burden for both individuals and societies. Our findings about the role of lycopene in lowering systolic blood pressure are therefore important and timely.”
If your blood pressure is creeping up, eating more tomatoes or taking a lycopene supplement may be a good idea. Processed tomatoes have much more available lycopene than raw tomatoes—a cup of dried tomatoes provides about 25 mg and a cup of tomato sauce has about 7 mg. Other good lycopene sources include guava (about 9 mg per cup of cut fruit), watermelon (7 mg per cup), and pink grapefruit (3 mg per cup).
Here are some other things you can do to reduce high blood pressure: