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The Truth About This Vegetable’s Alcohol Antidote Reputation

Recent studies have shown that tomatoes reduce the harmful effects of alcohol on the body. Now, this doesn’t mean you can do a tequila shot with a tomato chaser and escape the consequences. This fruit won’t save you from the headache and other horrors of a hangover. It also doesn’t prevent the intoxication that leads to poor choices.

What tomatoes can provide is some protection for your organs. Research revealed tomatoes “can protect the liver and brain from damage caused by alcohol consumption.” As we know, alcohol consumption wreaks havoc on both of these organs. With this tomato discovery, we may have found a helpful antidote for some of the damage done by alcohol. Here’s the scoop.

The Research

A team of researchers from Tufts University in Boston, MA tested 3 tomato products to analyze their efficacy against the detrimental effects of alcohol in the body. Previous studies have shown that 2 standard alcoholic drinks can cause DNA damage to brain cells within 15 minutes of intake. And, as we all know, alcohol is broken down by enzymes in the liver, and these toxic by-products cause damage to liver cells.

This current study focused on the usefulness of tomatoes in safeguarding the body versus the damage created by consuming 7 standard alcoholic drinks daily. The amount of alcohol consumption was purposefully chosen by the team to mirror the effects of excessive, chronic drinking in humans.

The researchers used tomato powder, tomato extract, and purified lycopene. The powder offered the same nutritional equivalent to a tomato and the extract contained only fat-soluble components. The lycopene is the red-pigment antioxidant that gives tomatoes their color. The results of the 4-week experiment showed that:

  • Brain cells treated with purified lycopene for 3 and a half hours prior to alcohol exposure showed significant damage reduction.
  • Whole tomatoes mitigated the harm done by alcohol to liver cells.

What Does This Mean for You?

The study authors noted that to achieve the same level of “botanical” defense from alcohol exposure, you would need to eat 4 medium-sized tomatoes or one third of a cup of tomato sauce daily. That’s a lot of marinara in your diet.

Keep in mind that tomatoes won’t stop all of the damage. They also don’t prevent alcohol addiction or other negative consequences. Of course, the best way to avoid the damage that alcohol does to your body is to not drink any of it. But for anyone who does occasionally imbibe, the tomato might prove to be a helpful friend.

How to Get Help for Alcohol Misuse

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol misuse, rest assured that help is available. Professional alcohol treatment programs can start anyone battling alcohol addiction on the road to recovery. You can contact an admissions navigator with American Addiction Centers free at at any time, day or night, to learn more about substance abuse and treatment. You can also check your health insurance coverage using the form below or make a call to a free alcohol hotline number.

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