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Tomato Nutrients Help to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

Dec 30, 2022 07:35AM ● By Maya Eylon
a vine of tomatoes


Slice ‘em, dice ‘em, turn ‘em into paste. Raw or cooked. Canned or fresh. There is no wrong way to eat the tomato, a nutrient-packed superfood. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Availability and Consumption data report, tomatoes are the second-most commonly consumed vegetable in the United States, second only to potatoes. Interestingly enough, this is due to Americans’ high intake of pizza sauce, which accounted for 56 percent of the tomatoes consumed by Americans. While pizza is probably not the best way to get your daily dose of tomatoes, it is important for you to find a way to fit tomatoes into your diet, and here’s why: As a superfood, tomatoes are packed with micronutrients and natural plant chemicals known as phytochemicals. From a nutrition perspective, tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C and E. From the phytochemical perspective, tomatoes contain polyphenols and carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their bright red color. Lycopene also happens to be a very powerful antioxidant. Because of the tomato’s unique nutritional profile, research has indicated that eating this superfood may help reduce your risk for prostate cancer.
In 2002, scientists conducted a study with 47,000 participants that found that men who enjoyed two or more servings of tomato sauce per week had a 23 percent lower risk for prostate cancer incidence. That is a pretty powerful finding, but if you are like me, you are now thinking, “That’s great, but those findings are so 2002,” and you are right—in some cases, newer data can be better data. So let’s take a look at a second study that was conducted more than a decade later. In this study, researchers found that from their nearly 50,000 participants, the men who had the highest intake of lycopene had up to a 28 percent reduction in their risk for prostate cancer incidence. What’s more, these findings were even stronger when it came to the men’s risk for lethal prostate cancer incidence. The findings from these two studies support that tomatoes, and the lycopene found in tomatoes, have the potential to significantly decrease your risk for prostate cancer.
Here is a simple and delicious physician-approved nutritional recipe with this superfood.
Five-Ingredient Mediterranean Salad
Yield: 3-4 servings
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 large English or Persian cucumber, diced
1 red onion, diced
1½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice from ½ lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
Salt and ground black pepper
Place the tomatoes, cucumber and onion in a large salad bowl.
Add the olive oil and lemon juice and toss until evenly distributed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss again gently and serve.
Maya Eylon is currently in medical school at Central Michigan University College of Medicine. A clinical researcher, she has conducted research with Hadassah Medical Center and Sanford School of Medicine.

Recipe excerpted from Preventing Prostate Cancer: Reduce Your Risk With Simple, Proactive Choices, by Benny Gavi and Maya Eylon. Ó2022 Healthy Living Publications.