Vegetable Effective for Maintaining Heart Health: That Vegetable Kids Initially Dislike

When I was 16, I studied abroad in the UK, staying with a British-Italian family where an Italian mama made pizza and pasta for me every day. Until then, apart from home economics classes, I had hardly cooked, so the pizzas and pastas we made together at that time are still vividly remembered. Even now, my seasoning is based on the recipes handed down by the Italian mama.


One thing she used without fail every day was "tomatoes."


When I stayed in Italy, various sparkling tomatoes lined the market, and just tasting them from the tomato seller could fill you up. Tomatoes that receive plenty of sunlight contain many nutrients and are also ingredients that work on the heart, essential for human survival. However, it might be a disliked food for small children. This is the case with my son, but when I explain what each ingredient does, he often eats it. I think it's important for parents to make an effort to learn first. Parents don't have to be perfect, but for children, parents are absolute. Considering this, I think it's a parent's role to learn what they can and provide it. Here's a summary focusing on the health benefits of tomatoes' lycopene.


Top 3 Health Elements Provided by Tomato Lycopene

Lycopene has been reported in various research institutions, and here are some of them (quoting in sentence tails).


Reduced Risk of Heart Disease: Lycopene is an antioxidant that removes free radicals from the body. This reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. For example, there are studies showing that the risk of developing heart disease is reduced by consuming tomatoes or tomato products for a long time. In one study, people who consumed tomato sauce twice a week or more were shown to have a lower risk of heart disease.

Lowering LDL Cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol and is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Lycopene inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and prevents it from accumulating in the blood vessel walls. According to research, drinking tomato juice rich in lycopene for 8 weeks resulted in a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol levels.

Regulation of Blood Pressure: Lycopene also has an effect on regulating blood pressure by improving endothelial function. In one study, hypertensive patients who took lycopene supplements reported a significant decrease in blood pressure. Especially for people with hypertension, consuming tomatoes or lycopene may be helpful for blood pressure management. Take a moment to reconsider your own and your parents' health.


Incorporating Lycopene into Daily Life

I think there are many ways to make children who dislike tomatoes eat them, but from now on, I think it's a good idea to try growing tomatoes in a home garden. There are varieties that grow indoors, but exposing them to plenty of sunlight greatly increases the nutritional value of tomatoes. Also, like the Italian mama, it's recommended to devise a tomato sauce with flavours that children like, so you can mix it with pasta or pizza. Spinach is a representative ingredient that goes well with tomatoes. The nutrients in these two vegetables complement each other. Also, the refreshing acidity of tomatoes and the richness of spinach bring out the flavors of the ingredients in cooking, making it a very delicious combination.




Rao AV, Agarwal S. Role of antioxidant lycopene in cancer and heart disease. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5):563-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2000.10718953. PMID: 11022869.