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Following a Diet Rich in Tomatoes to Fight Prostate Cancer
- Updated: August 28, 2014
According to the most recent statistics, an estimated 233,000 new cases of this cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States alone, with nearly 30,000 of them dying. In the United Kingdom, there are about 35,000 new cases and approximately 10,000 deaths. Worldwide, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer developed in men. Sadly, in countries with Westernized diets and lifestyle, rates are much higher.
Obviously, this is a very serious problem but according to new research, there is an 18% reduction in risk for prostate cancer in men who consume more than 10 portions of tomatoes per week. Focusing on both diet and lifestyle recommendations for lowering risk of this cancer, researchers with the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, and Oxford analyzed diets and lifestyle of 1,806 men ranging in age from 50 to 69 who had a firm diagnosis of prostate cancer compared with 12,005 men who were completely cancer free.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), findings were published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention journal. This particular study was the first of its kind, used to help develop a “dietary index” for men at risk for developing prostate cancer. Included in this index were specific components to include calcium, lycopene-rich foods, and selenium, all having been linked with this particular form of cancer.
Men in the study given an appropriate level of these three dietary components had a reduced risk of cancer. Of all the foods involved, tomatoes and tomato-based foods proved to be the most beneficial. Experts believe this is because of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant capable of fighting off toxins that cause cell damage and DNA.
The study suggested that tomatoes may ultimately be a critical food for preventing prostate cancer. However, to confirm the initial findings, additional studies and clinical trials are needed. Even with this, the current recommendation is for men to eat different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, get daily exercise, and maintain a healthy weight.
However, researchers want to stress that recommendations made based on this study are not sufficient to prevent prostate cancer and as such, the development of additional dietary suggestions are mandated.