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A small study has shown that drinking tomato juice for 3 weeks may help prevent heart complications in patients with type 2 diabetes. In a research letter reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (August 18, 2004), the researchers said that the juice reduced "platelet aggregation"?the blood's ability to clot.
Studies had shown that tomato products have lowered the occurrence of various heart ailments, so the researchers decided to test their theory in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The study included 14 men and 6 women aged 43 to 82 years old with type 2 diabetes but with no history of clotting problems. None of the participants were taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or other medications that may influence clotting. While maintaining a normal diet, the participants were randomly assigned to drink 250 mL of tomato juice or a tomato-flavored beverage daily for 3 weeks.
At the beginning and end of the study, blood samples were taken and analyzed. The results showed that platelet aggregation was significantly lower at the end of the trial for the participants drinking tomato juice. The placebo group showed no major difference in platelet aggregation. Until larger studies determine why the juice had this effect, the researchers cautioned that drinking small amounts of tomato juice may be fine for diabetics, but they should not overdo it, because the juice contains some sugar and is acidic.