Eating tomato sauce a couple of times a week may reduce prostate cancer risk, according to a study including nearly 48,000 men from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Studies have largely focused on lycopene, an antioxidant abundant in tomatoes. Antioxidants may help shield against cancer and heart disease by neutralizing harmful molecules known as oxygen free radicals.
Men in the study whose average intake of lycopene was 18,780 micrograms (18.7 milligrams) each day had a 16% lower risk of prostate cancer than men who took in 3,415 micrograms (3.4 milligrams) of lycopene daily.
The reduction in prostate cancer risk was even greater when tomato sauce intake was considered. Men who ate two or more servings of tomato sauce each week were 23% less likely to develop prostate cancer during the study period than men who ate less than one serving of tomato sauce each month.
The researchers suggest that increased consumption of tomato and tomato based products may be prudent, however efficacy and safety of pills containing only lycopene needs to be specifically evaluated.
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