Men who eat 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and rates are higher in developed countries, which some experts believe is linked to a Westernised diet and lifestyle.
Researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford looked at the diets and lifestyle of 1,806 men aged between 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared with 12,005 cancer-free men.
The study published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention is the first of its kind to develop a prostate cancer dietary index with components – selenium, calcium and foods rich in lycopene – which been linked to prostate cancer.
Men who had optimal intake of these three dietary components had a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Tomatoes and its products, such as tomato juice and baked beans, were shown to be most beneficial, with an 18% reduction in risk found in men eating more than 10 portions a week.
This is thought to be due to lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins.
Vanessa Er, from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, says the findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention.
However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm the findings.
“Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active,” she says.
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