Tomato-rich (Mediterranean) diet does not modify inflammatory markers

Arnon Blum, Merei Monir, Khalid Khazim, Aviva Peleg, Nava Blum


Background: The Mediterranean diet is rich in lycopene and has been reported to reduce cardiovascular events. The mechanism of prevention of cardiovascular events has not been clearly established. Our aim was to study the effects of a tomatoes-rich diet on markers of vascular inflammation.

Methods: Plasma concentrations of E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) were determined by ELISA in 103 apparently healthy volunteers. Volunteers were randomly assigned to two groups: 50 participants ate 300 g tomatoes daily for 1 month, and 53 participants ate their usual diet with tomatoes prohibited during that period. Markers of inflammation were measured before enrollment and 1 month after their assigned diet.

Results: The two diet groups had similar baseline clinical characteristics and similar baseline levels of inflammatory markers. After 30 days of assigned diet concentrations of hs-CRP, E-selectin and ICAM-1 were unchanged compared with baseline in the tomato-rich diet. However, ICAM-1 concentraion was increased in the regular diet group from 247.55±55ng/ml to 264.71±60.42ng/ml (P=0.01).

Conclusions: The mechanisms of benefit of the tomato-rich diet are not directly related to inhibition of markers of vascular inflammation.

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