Fighting Prostate Cancer… With Tomatoes

Prostate cancer may be prevented by a red pigment found within vegetables, according to overwhelming evidence spanning the past eight years [1,2,3,4]. As you likely guess, if you checked out any of the sources, the primary source for the pigment (lycopene) is tomatoes. This article [5], from The Monterey Herald’s resident nutritionist goes over some of the details:

Part of that benefit might be from lycopene — a reddish pigment that gives color to fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, apricots, guavas, and watermelons. Lycopene has been shown to help lower PSA levels and lower the risk for developing prostate cancer.

Besides lycopene found naturally in food, some studies have shown a benefit from the use of lycopene supplements; others have not. Remember, though, when we eat foods high in lycopene — those with red-colored flesh — we also get a host of other nutrients that work together to fight against cancer.

By the way, lycopene from food cooked with a little fat is better absorbed into the body than raw foods eaten without fat. Tomatoes cooked in olive oil, for example, release more lycopene into the body than do raw tomatoes.

Vitamin D is another newsworthy nutrient in the fight against prostate cancer. This hormonelike vitamin may have a protective effect on the cells of the prostate gland, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Although we still don’t know if taking vitamin D supplements or getting more natural vitamin D from the sun will prevent prostate cancer, it has been observed that men diagnosed with prostate cancer often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

It’s important to note that while the original article then says that Vitamin D-based medications [6] for prostate cancer may be on the way, the evidence is widely disputed [7], and may even be worse than counter-intuitive [8].

For more on dietary prevention of cancers, check out Barbara Quinn’s original article here, or this piece on how coffee may prevent colorectal cancer.

Sources:
[1] Journal of the National Cancer Institute
[2] The Journal of Cancer Research
[3] Sage Journals
[4] Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention
[5] The Monterey Herald
[6] Endocrine Society
[7] ScienceAlert
[8] Albany Daily Star
[Original Image] PixaBay

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