Maybe we should have listened to Mom when she said to eat your vegetables.
Researchers in the UK have found a link between eating tomatoes and prostate cancer. They found evidence that suggests that men who eat more than 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men. Cancer experts recommend people eat a balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in meat, fat and salt.
In the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers found that men who ate tomatoes and its products had the most benefit. Researchers think it might be thanks to lycophene, an antioxidant that fights toxins and causes DNA and cell damage.
They also found that men who ate five or more servings of fruits of vegetables a day had a 24 percent decreased risk of prostate cancer risk compared to men who ate 2.5 servings or less.
Researchers looked at the diet and lifestyle of 1,806 men with prostate cancer and 12,005 men without cancer and compared them.
Experts attribute the growing rate of prostate cancer to a Western-style lifestyle and diet.
The team suggests eating foods with tomatoes in them, but they caution that eating foods such as pizza and baked beans are still high in salt, sugar and fat.
Along with lycophene-rich foods, researchers looked at selenium and calcium as nutrients linked to prostate cancer, but they did not find significant evidence supporting an association between those nutrients and the disease.
However, men who ate all three dietary components also had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Additionally, although some research has suggested that excessive calcium intake is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, researchers still recommend men intake 750 mg of calcium a day.
"Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention," said Vanessa Er, who led the research. "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."