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Tomatoes can lower risk of prostate cancer

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Are you a man who enjoys a salad or maybe a plate of pasta with marinara sauce? Then you might be reducing your likelihood of getting cancer.

Men who eat over 10 portions of tomatoes per week have an 18 percent lower risk of getting prostate cancer, according to research done by scientists at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford.

The researchers looked at the diets of 1,806 men with prostate cancer and compared them with the diets of 12,005 men who were cancer-free and found that those who ate foods rich with selenium, calcium and lycopene had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes and tomato products were found to be the most effective, with an 18 percent reduction of the risk.

"Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention. However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials. Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active," said Vanessa Er, of the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition BRU, who led the research.

Lycopene, an antioxidant which combats the toxins that damage cells and DNA, may possibly be the most important component to the tomato's beneficial properties against prostate cancer.

The scientists were examining the recommendations on physical activity, diet and weight to help prevent cancer that had been published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

The article on the research, "Adherence to dietary and lifestyle recommendations and prostate cancer risk in the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial," was published online by the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. The article was authored by Vanessa Er, J. Athene Lane, Richard M. Martin, Pauline Emmett, Rebecca Gilbert, Kerry N.L. Avery, Eleanor Walsh, Jenny L. Donovan, David E. Neal, Freddie C. Hamdy and Mona Jeffreys.

According to the WCRF, more than 1.1 million cases of prostate cancer were recorded in 2012, accounting for around 8 percent of all new cancer cases and about 15 percent of cases in men.

Photo: C.P. Storm 

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