ONE of the benefits of living in Spain is the availability of home-grown fruits and vegetables, many of which are cultivated all year round in the sea of plastic greenhouses located in the south of the country. 

Among these star products, many of which are exported to other European Union countries, is the humble tomato, a fruit that was first introduced to Spain by conquistadors, who brought them back from the Americas. 

Not only do Spanish tomatoes taste amazing, but according to a new report from a leading scientist in Spain, they provide significant health benefits, especially if consumed once a day. 

Doctor David Murcia-Lesmes, who is a Food Science and Nutrition researcher, has concluded that tomatoes “can play a favourable clinical role in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure”. 

The condition is suffered by as many as 11 million people in Spain, and can cause other issues such as cardiopathies, heart failure and strokes, according to a report on the website.

Tomato farmers see red

The doctor’s research, which was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, shows that the daily consumption of a tomato can reduce the risk of high blood pressure by 36%. 

The reason for this is the fruit’s high content of lycopene, which gives the tomato its red colour but is also an antioxidant. 

“Consistent with our findings regarding hypertension, a high intake of lycopene improves cardiovascular health in older, overweight participants by reducing the risk of stroke,” the study states. 

There are also other health benefits, such as the tomato’s vitamin content. The Spanish Nutrition Foundation states that a single serving of tomato provides 61% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C for the general population.

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