According to a study, men who eat up tomato products more than twice a week can obviously reduce their chances of contracting prostate cancer. Consuming cooked tomatoes was particularly beneficial, according to the study, which showed that regularly eating tomato sauce, ketchup and other tomato-based foods lowered the prostate cancer risk by as much as 30 percent.
Dr. Edward Giovannucci of Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, the first author of the study, said it supported earlier research involving foods such as tomatoes that were high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
According to the author, these most recent findings add support to the notion that a diet rich in tomatoes and lycopene-containing foods, as well as other fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Researchers analyzed the food choices and prostate cancer histories of more than 41,000 men and found that those who ate at least two meals a week containing tomato products lowered their risk of prostate cancer by 20 percent to 30 percent.
Giovannucci said that lycopene is thought to protect against cancer by absorbing oxygen free-radicals, which are chemicals created during metabolism that can damage the genetic structure of cells.
Dietary questionnaires in the study included such food items as tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice, pizza, watermelon and pink grapefruit, along with salsa, ketchup and other tomato-based condiments.
When the data was adjusted for the effects of other life style factors, the researchers found that tomatoes, especially if they had been cooked, were beneficial against prostate cancer. ``Spaghetti sauce was the most popular'' and also seemed to give the most protection, said Giovannucci. He said that cooking raw tomatoes, as is done to make spaghetti sauce, may break down cell walls of the fruit and allow the body to absorb more lycopene.