Asked by: Clare Matthews, Canterbury
Tomatoes and tomato juice are known to reduce blood levels of low-density lipoprotein – or ‘bad cholesterol’ – and so reduce the risk of heart disease. But can a thick dollop of ketchup have any such positive effect? Apparently it can.
The pigment that provides the red colouring in tomatoes is lycopene, an anti-oxidant that helps prevent cell damage and inhibits heart disease. Ketchup contains lycopene, with organic and dark red varieties containing the most. In some experiments people’s levels of LDL fell in just a few weeks of eating extra ketchup.
Whether it’s as good as the real thing is another matter, since fresh tomatoes also contain many other healthy ingredients.