Did You Know? Tomatoes May Reduce Meno Signs.
Yes, it’s true. Science says so, therefore it must be true right?
You’ve probably heard that tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene – a potent phytochemical which a new study shows may be a meno girls best friend – along with a few other goodies that make up the humble tomato.
Food Is Medicine (Just Ask Hippocrates)
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be they food.”
Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.
I often say that food is extraordinarily powerful (Hippocrates and I? We’re like that 🤞! 😂), but seriously it’s like Mother Nature’s medicine. And that’s especially true when it comes to menopausal signs, weight gain and hormone balancing.
Back to the study, which – when it comes to tomatoes anyway – underlines the point.
Indeed, tomatoes and their tomato-based foodie sisters like unprocessed, unsalted, un-sugared sauces, juices and canned offerings, have been recognised as health promoting and disease preventing for quite some time. However, this news in relation to their helping alleviate menopause signs is much more recent.
The results of the study were published in the nutrition journal and showed that tomato juice increases resting energy expenditure (REE) and improves fatty triglycerides if they are too high (technically known as hypertriglyceridemia) in meno women. The latter increases risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study took 95 women (40-60 years old) who had at least one menopausal sign and asked them to refrain from foods and drinks rich in tomato for two weeks prior to the study. Following this, the women consumed 200ml (about a cup) of unsalted tomato juice twice a day for two weeks. Usually before breakfast and dinner.
Ninety-three women went on to complete the study and the results showed anxiety improved, other menopausal signs were alleviated, and REE (or resting metabolism) increased from 300-400 calories a day helping slow weight gain.
Meno women – as we like to call ourselves – are not only bothered by the physical and psychological signs of menopause, but are also at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and dyslipidemia (endocrine and metabolic disorders), diabetes and obesity, some of which are partly induced as a result of diminished estrogen production.
The Science-y Bit
The report writers say: ‘CVD is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for 17.3 million (30%) deaths, globally, in 2008.
Important! Most CVDs could be theoretically prevented through an elimination of risk factors, such as tobacco use, unhealthy diets, obesity, high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, and raised lipids.’
My note: This can all be helped by Mother Nature’s medicine ☺
The report writers go on to say:
‘Tomato juice contains a variety of bioactive ingredients, which may provide physical and psychological health benefits for women reducing psychological stress, lowering blood pressure, mitigating cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and obesity.
Compared to fresh tomatoes, tomato juice has several advantages, including an increased level of extractable lycopene, and elevated antioxidant capacity (as a result of activation through the canning (heating) process) and additionally, 13-oxo-ODA is found only in tomato juice.
What is 13-oxo-ODA?
In 2012, Kim et al. isolated 13-oxo-ODA from tomato juice. They showed that this juice component acted as a whole lot of science, but suffice to say – for our purposes – it helped reduce weight gain and the dilation of blood vessels, which is beneficial for those pesky hot flashes.
More Science (Interesting)
The researchers also said that the hot flashes and psychological signs that can accompany the meno years could well be associated with oxidative stress or the imbalance of the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralise them. Therefore the improvements in menopausal signs in the study participants could partly be explained by the antioxidative effect of lycopene. Furthermore, a little known amino acid GABA (a neurotransmitter that helps regulate brain and nerves), is much more abundant in tomatoes than in other vegetables and fruits and could be another candidate as its prescription counterpart, gabapentin, has been proven to relieve hot flushes.
So, The $64,000 Question:
Should You Drink Tomato Juice By The Bucket Load?
By all means if you love it, and we suggest taking your 40+/55+ with it. It can only be good right?
The researchers believe this is the first study to look into the effects of tomatoes and tomato products on health in meno women – great news – we’re not invisible! However, it pays to bear in mind that if similar research was carried out on other plant-based foods we may get similar fantastic results.
With that said, we love tomato juice so we just might add it into our daily habit when we take our 40+ or 55+. The more ammunition we have against meno signs the better we say. We’ll only use unsalted tomato juice and maybe with a bit of black pepper and spices and a celery stick. Niiiicccce!