By now, we’ve all heard that the Mediterranean diet is basically a magic bullet for living a long and healthy life. But unless you happen to live on a European island, subsisting off freshly caught seafood, olive oil and red wine all the time isn’t that practical.
That’s why it was music to our ears to hear that scientists have developed a pill that turbocharges the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Researchers from Cambridge University have developed an all-natural supplement called the ‘Ateronon Heart’, which combines the heart-health benefits of lycopene — a key component in tomatos — with milk.
Scientists have long been aware of the heart-boosting benefits of lycopene — the compound that gives tomatoes their red colour. However, more recent research has indicated that this is poorly absorbed by the body until it is mixed with milk. In combining the two, the supplement blocks the protein that causes the breakdown of fats in the blood. This increases blood flow by 53%, which slows the build-up of plague and prevents heart disease.
“There is increasing interest in natural ingredients. People are looking for cures and if they can find them in plants that is very much easier than developing synthetic drugs to treat disease,” says Nick Sutcliffe, a Cambridge lawyer involved in the patenting of the product.
This will be the first time a product of this kind will be available over the counter. Taking a single tablet of the Ateronon Heart is said to absorb the benefits of more than 1kg of cooked tomatoes. This is thought to help people achieve the optimum lycopene level within just two months. The pills will receive their patent next year, so are expected to hit shelves in the near future.
In the meantime, you can get your lycopene dose with Jacqueline Alwill’s tomato and carrot soup recipe.