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Lycopene-Rich Foods May Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men around the world. Rates are highest in developed countries, possibly due to a Westernized diet and lifestyle.  A recent study suggests that men who eat more than 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Participants in the study included 1,806 men between the ages of 50 and 69 who had prostate cancer and 12,005 men without cancer, all from the United Kingdom. The researchers compared the diets and lifestyles of the men with and without prostate cancer to determine if there was a link with the development of prostate cancer.

After examining the data, the researchers found that men who had optimal intakes of selenium, calcium, and foods rich in lycopene had the lowest risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, men who ate over 10 portions per week of tomatoes and tomato products - for example, baked beans or tomato juice - had an 18% reduction in prostate cancer risk. 

Researchers from the University of Bristol and Oxford University in the UK conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 13, 2014, in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The results seen here are most likely due to the high lycopene content of tomatoes and tomato products. Previous studies have shown that lycopene may have a positive effect on heart health, bone health, and skin health.

If you want to increase lycopene levels you may want to consider taking a lycopene supplement, or increasing your consumption of red-pigmented foods such as tomatoes, peppers and papayas. Certain diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are also high in lycopene.

 





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