Nutrient-rich tomatoes are primary source of the antioxidant lycopene
and second most consumed vegetable in the American diet
OMAHA, Neb., Nov 09, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) one of North America's leading food
makers, presented research findings this week exploring the unique
cardiovascular benefits of tomatoes as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Beyond the widely recognized benefits of lycopene, recent studies have
suggested that the distinct combination of nutrients found in tomatoes
may have a measurable impact on heart disease prevention.
At the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and
Expo held in Boston this week, ConAgra Foods, the maker of Hunt's(R)
tomatoes, sponsored a session featuring Dr. Tissa Kappagoda of the
University of California-Davis and Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State
University. They reviewed multiple studies, including the 2009 Tomato
Products Wellness Council research they co-authored with other medical
experts, examining how fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes can reduce
heart disease risk factors.
"Research suggests a protective relationship between the consumption of
tomatoes and tomato products and cardiovascular disease," said Dr.
Kappagoda, director of the Coronary Heart Disease Reversal Program,
University of California-Davis. "For instance, in a six-week study,
people with high blood pressure who consumed two servings of canned
tomato products daily experienced a significant decrease in blood
According to a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, lycopene absorption is two to three times greater in canned
tomato products than raw tomatoes. (2) "Tomatoes not only
contain high levels of carotenoid antioxidants such as lycopene, but
also serve as a significant source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium in
the American diet," said Kristin Reimers, Ph.D., nutrition manager,
ConAgra Foods. "Calorie for calorie, tomatoes contain more than twice
the potassium of other common sources such as bananas, potatoes, milk
and orange juice."
Tomatoes are America's favorite non-starchy vegetable and account for 85
percent of the lycopene consumed in the U.S. Because of the tomato's
popularity and nutritive value, the USDA has outlined a new red-orange
vegetable sub-group in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to
provide a greater focus on tomatoes.
In addition to the specific health benefits of tomatoes, encouraging
greater tomato consumption may help increase overall vegetable intake
since canned tomatoes, such as Hunt's, are readily available, widely
accepted by consumers, convenient and economical. "At a time when
consumers are as concerned about getting the most for their grocery
dollar as they may be about their long-term health, products like Hunt's
canned tomatoes can help people balance value with nutrition," Reimers
"For many years, heart-healthy diets have focused on dietary
restrictions such as saturated fat and trans fat," said Penny
Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., distinguished professor, Penn State
University. "That mindset is changing and today, the overwhelming
majority of dietitians and physicians agree that to improve health and
reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Americans need to think
positively about which foods to include in their diets instead of which
foods to avoid."
ConAgra Foods has an ongoing commitment to health and wellness and
sponsors numerous research studies throughout the year to convey the
health benefits of a variety of foods to dietitians and consumers.
Hunt's tomatoes are available in many varieties, including No Salt Added
options, making it easy to incorporate the health benefits of tomatoes
into your daily meals. Only Hunt's uses the natural FlashSteam(R)
process to lock in natural tomato goodness of every tomato in Diced,
Whole and Stewed varieties.
About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG), is one of North America's leading food
companies, with brands in 97 percent of America's households. Consumers
find Banquet,Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National,
Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Peter Pan,
Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack and many other ConAgra Foods brands
in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods
also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato
and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain
products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators
and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
(1)"Processed tomato products and risk factors for chronic
disease," Tomato Products Wellness Council, 2009.
(2)American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1997:66, 116-22.
SOURCE: ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Becky Niiya, 402-240-5312