Cooked tomatoes fight cholesterol better than statins: study

Cooked tomatoes could have the same health benefits for high cholesterol and high blood pressure patients as statins - a class of drug used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme - according to scientists.

Tomotes, they add, could be an 'effective alternative' to statins, the class of drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions that cause heart problems, according to a study.

They say many patients could benefit with a pint of tomato juice a day or two ounces of tomato paste.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene the substance which gives ripe tomatoes their bright red colour. Lycopene is also a powerful anti-oxidant, essential for good health as it helps lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Cooked tomatoes are said to be the best as tests show higher absorption of lycopene from these than raw fruit.

After analysing the results of 14 international studies into the benefits of lycopene over the last 55 years, experts in Australia have concluded that lycopene could provide a natural defence against elevated levels of so-called 'bad cholesterol' - or low-density lipoprotein in the blood.

They say the effect compares with that of small doses of statins, used to treat many of the 2.5 million-plus Britons who have high levels of cholesterol or blood pressure.