by Dr. Alan Inglis

If the latest research is any indication, your next doctor visit should include a prescription for tomatoes.

A study has found that lycopene, an antioxidant, can cut the building up of plaque that leads to atherosclerosis. Lycopene is found in all of the healthy red-tinged fruits and vegetables. They include tomatoes, red peppers and red grapefruit.

The researchers divided animals into several groups and gave them varied diets. Two of the groups were given high-fat diets, with one group receiving a lycopene supplement and the other a statin.

Lycopene supplements were found to be superior to statins. The group that received the lycopene showed lower blood serum levels of total and LDL cholesterol.

This could be yet another reason why those who eat a Mediterranean diet stay so heart- healthy-it's all of those recipes that include tomatoes.

So the next time your doctor takes a look at your cholesterol (you know it's inevitable) and pushes a prescription for a statin your way, push back. Tell him about this finding and let him know you're going to redden your plate for a natural way to manage your cholesterol.