Fight Prostate Cancer with a Tomato-Rich Diet

What You Need to Know: New research suggests that men who eat over 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Rates are higher in developed countries, which some experts believe is linked to a Westernised diet and lifestyle.

The Evidence:  To assess if following diet and lifestyle recommendations reduces risk of prostate cancer, researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford (England) looked at the diets and lifestyles of 1,806 men aged between 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared them with 12,005 cancer-free men. The study is the first study of its kind to develop a prostate cancer ‘dietary index’ which consists of dietary components — selenium, calcium and foods rich in lycopene — that have been linked to prostate cancer.

Men who had optimal intake of these three dietary components had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes and its products — such as tomato juice and baked beans — were shown to be most beneficial, with an 18 per cent reduction in risk found in men eating over 10 portions a week.

My Take: The reduction in risk may be due to lycopene, an antioxidant that makes tomatoes and watermelon red in color. Lycopenes may help fight off toxins that can cause damage to your DNA (genes). Tomatoes may reduce the risk of prostate cancer among men, and should be considered as a part of a diet containing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. And don’t forget the physical activity and maintenance of a good weight (e.g. body mass index 20-25). I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad: Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: V. Er, J. Athene Lane, R. M. Martin, P. Emmett, R. Gilbert, K. N. L. Avery, E. Walsh, J. L. Donovan, D. E. Neal, F. C. Hamdy, M. Jeffreys. Adherence to dietary and lifestyle recommendations and prostate cancer risk in the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2014; DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0322



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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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