Italian-food lovers everywhere, rejoice: Tomato sauce is even
healthier than previously suspected. Research is showing that
tomatoes and tomato-based foods are excellent sources of lycopene,
an antioxidant with cancer-fighting abilities; specifically,
lycopene is believed to significantly reduce a man's chances
of getting prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is serious: It
affects one in
four men over age 50, who may suffer impotence and incontinence
as a result, and is the second leading cause of cancer death
in American men.
A six-year study of prostate cancer in 40- to 75-year-old
men was recently published in the Journal of the National
Cancer Institute as a follow-up to a previous six-year
study. Nearly 50,000 men reported on the foods they ate so
researchers could evaluate their intakes of lycopene-rich
foods, including tomatoes and tomato sauces (e.g., pasta sauce
and salsa); pizza; watermelon; and grapefruit.
Consuming tomato sauce (considered the best source of lycopene)
more than twice per week reduced the odds for prostate cancer
by about 25%, compared to consuming it less than once per
month. A high estimated lycopene intake from any foods was
also associated with a significant reduction in prostate cancer
These data confirm previous reports of a reduced risk for
prostate cancer through consuming tomato products and other
sources of lycopene. Cooked tomatoes and tomato products,
such as ketchup and various tomato sauces, are the optimal
sources of lycopene.
Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, et al. A prospective study
of tomato products, lycopene, and prostate cancer risk.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2002:94(5), pp.
More nutrition information can be found at http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/nutrition.