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Drink Tomato Juice for Healthy Bones

Milk’s not the only drink that builds healthy bones. According to new research published in the journal Osteoporosis International, drinking tomato juice reduces the risk of osteoporosis too. Is sipping tomato juice twice a day the key to healthy bones?

Tomatoes and tomato juice are a rich source of natural plant compounds called lycopenes. This member of the carotenoid family of phytonutrients has already been recognized for its health benefits. Lycopenes in tomatoes may lower the risk of heart disease, and some studies show they prevent prostate cancer — although recent studies have called this into question. Nevertheless, lycopenes are a good source of cell-protective antioxidants — and tomato juice is one of the best sources of lycopene around.

The Power of Lycopenes in Tomatoes

When researchers gave sixty post-menopausal women tomato juice, a lycopene supplement, a combination of the two, or a placebo for four months, they made some interesting observations. The women who received the lycopene supplement, the tomato juice, or a combination of the two had significant increases in the amount of lycopene in their blood. This isn’t surprising since the women were drinking tomato juice or taking a lycopene supplement.

What’s more interesting is the women who drank tomato juice or took the lycopene in supplement form had lower markers for bone breakdown in their blood as well as greater antioxidant capacity. These factors are both important for healthy bones and for reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Prior to giving them lycopene supplements or tomato juice, the women were asked to avoid eating any tomato products for thirty days. During this time, they found a chemical in their blood stream that serves as a marker for bone breakdown — more evidence that lycopene is important for healthy bones.

Lycopenes in Tomatoes: How Much Do You Need for Healthy Bones?

According to this study, drinking two glasses of tomato juice a day can improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. What about eating raw tomatoes? This wouldn’t necessarily have the same benefit. Lycopene are most readily absorbed when they’re processed, so tomato juice, tomato sauce and ketchup are better sources than raw tomatoes.

Drink Tomato Juice for Healthy Bones: The Bottom Line?

Don’t give up milk. It has the calcium the body needs to build stronger bones, but add more lycopenes to your diet by drinking tomato juice too. Give your bones the nutrients they need to keep you standing tall for a lifetime.

Author: Dr. Kristie Leong, MD.

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