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TOMATOES -- FOODS THAT FIGHT CANCER


OTHER FOODS THAT FIGHT CANCER


NOTE: No single food or food substances can protect you against cancer. But scientists believe that the right combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet may. Evidence is mounting that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. This concept is called synergy. In addition, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low-energy-dense, low calorie foods and probably protect against weight gain. According to the Second Expert Report, experts believe that weight gain particularly obesity and overweight are implicated in the development of cancer. Eating a predominantly plant based diet can help prevent weight gain and therefore protect against those cancers whose risk is convincingly increased by higher body fat (namely cancers of the colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, pancreas, kidney, and breast in postmenopausal women). That is why AICR recommends that at least 2/3 of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.

Tomatoes        

The tomato’s red hue comes chiefly from a phytochemical called lycopene. Tomatoes have attracted particular attention from prostate cancer researchers because lycopene and its related compounds tend to concentrate in tissues of the prostate.

AICR's second expert report, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, found substantial and convincing evidence that foods containing lycopene probably protect against prostate cancer.

In animal models, consumption of tomato compounds has been linked to large decreases in prostate cancer risk. Moreover, there is evidence that this cancer-fighting potential is increased if tomatoes are consumed in a processed form that allows these natural compounds to be released and more easily absorbed, such as tomato sauce, tomato paste or tomato juice.

Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, together with a group of related compounds collectively called the “red family,” has displayed anti-cancer potential in a variety of laboratory studies. In the laboratory, tomato components have stopped the proliferation of several other cancer cells types, including breast, lung, and endometrial.

Although the evidence suggests it is likely that foods containing lycopene, including tomatoes, offer cancer protection, AICR stresses the importance of eating a variety of plant foods to ensure the most protection against cancer development. No food in isolation can effectively lower cancer risk.

The Research

AICR has funded research on the following topics relating to tomatoes and the cancer-fighting components they contain. Click each topic to search for relevant AICR-funded research studies performed to date.

Read the full list of AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

 



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