By Connor Boyd For Mailonline
Published: 15:22 BST, 5 June 2019 | Updated: 15:22 BST, 5 June 2019
Drinking unsalted tomato juice can reduce the risk of heart disease, new research claims.
Scientists found drinking one 200ml bottle every day lowered blood pressure and cholesterol in people at risk of the condition.
But critics today urged caution over the study, warning it didn't take into account other food and lifestyle choices.
Drinking one 200ml bottle of unsalted tomato juice every day can reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a Japanese study
Tokyo Medical and Dental University researchers studied 481 people over the course of a year, providing them with as much of the drink as they wanted.
Participants kept diaries in which they recorded exactly how much tomato juice they consumed each day, in addition to any health changes they noticed.
Most of the study participants consumed about one bottle (200 ml) of unsalted tomato juice every day, researchers said.
Blood pressure dropped by three per cent in 94 volunteers with untreated pre-hypertension or hypertension (high blood pressure), on average.
This was the equivalent to the participants' systolic blood pressure - the top figure - dropping from by around 4mmHg.
The researchers also noted their diastolic blood pressure - the bottom figure - was reduced by around 3mmHg.
The NHS and other health bodies state high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
Researchers say lycopene - a chemical that gives tomatoes their famous red colour - prevented plaque from building up in participant's arteries, causing a drop in blood pressure.
They claim lycopene works by inhibiting LDL - a harmful type of cholesterol that