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Tomato Consumption May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk


28/08/2014

Researchers from the University of Bristol, the University of Oxford and the National Institute for Health Research have found an association between the consumption of more than 10 portions of tomatoes a week and an 18% reduction in prostate cancer risk.

The study used dietary information from 13,811 men to draw their conclusions. Researchers found that men who consumed more than 10 portions of tomatoes a week had a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those who did not. Researchers also found that consumption of tomato products such as baked beans, tomato juice, tomato sauce and pizza all reduced prostate cancer risk however eating large quantities of these products also increases salt intake and therefore should be eaten in moderation. This association is thought to be due to the fact that tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a nutrient believed to protect against cell damage.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with over 40,000 new diagnoses each year mainly affecting men over the age of 50. Black men have a higher risk of developing this cancer than any other ethnicity with one in four black men to be diagnosed at some point in their lives. It is not fully understood why men of African descent are more likely to develop prostate cancer but some researchers suggest that there may be a genetic link found among these men.

Although the study has found an association between consumption of tomatoes and tomato products and the risk of developing prostate cancer, it cannot definitively prove that consuming more than 10 portions of tomatoes prevents prostate cancer. This means that the recommendations already made to reduce cancer risk through regular exercise, stopping smoking and eating a balanced healthy meal should still be followed.