Tomatoes Have Cancer-Fighting Potential

Posted by SoundHealth on Thursday, September, 16 2010 and filed under Nutrition
Key topics: Tomato Lycopene Cancer Prostate Cancer

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Tomatoes are extremely rich in antioxidants and are already known for their ability to halt cancer growth. New findings suggest that a daily serving of tomatoes protects against prostate cancer and slows the growth of tumors in existing sufferers.

A study involving mice bred to be genetically susceptible to cancer showed those fed a daily diet rich in tomato extracts were less likely to fall ill - and survived longer if they did.

Scientists studied mice that had been bred to be at risk of prostate cancer.

They compared those fed a normal diet with mice given at least 10 per cent of their food in the form of a powder made from cherry tomatoes.

The tomato-fed mice had lower rates of cancer and survived longer than the others, the researchers said.

Tomatoes Are Antioxidant-Rich

The health-protective properties of tomatoes are due to their high concentration of antioxidants, especially Beta-carotene and lycopene, as well as vitamins C and E, making them good protectors of the heart, as well as protecting against cancer. They are also extremely low in sodium and rich in potassium, so they are helpful in conditions such as high blood pressure and fluid retention.

lycopene is thought to be the main antioxidant responsible for the tomato's anti-cancer effects. It is the most common carotenoid in the human body and is one of the most potent carotenoid antioxidants. It is unique in that it becomes more abundant when tomatoes are cooked and is unharmed by processing. Therefore products such as tomato juice, soup, sauce, and ketchup (preferably home-made), produces the highest concentrations of bioavailable lycopene.

Other studies have demonstrated that lycopene also has cardioprotective, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lycopene has been shown to be more health-protective when consumed with fat-rich foods, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. This is because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats.

Research Paper Details:

Pannellini T, Manuela Iezzi M, Liberatore M, et al. A Dietary tomato Supplement Prevents prostate cancer in TRAMP Mice. Cancer Prevention Research, 2010.

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