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Aug 28, 2014 10:01 AM EDT

Tomatoes Effective in Lowering Prostate Cancer Risk in Men, Study

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Men who consume over 10 portions of tomatoes per week have an 18 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a University of Bristol study.

The prostate cancer rates are higher in developed countries due to Westernized diet and lifestyle.

To determine whether adaptation of dietary and lifestyle recommendations lowers prostate cancer risk, researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford compared the diet chart and lifestyle of 1,806 men, aged between 50 and 69 years, with prostate cancer to a control group of 12,005 non-cancer men.

The researchers found that men who had ideal intake of food rich in these three dietary components - selenium, calcium and lycopene - were associated with lower risk of prostate cancer.

Tomatoes and its products like tomato juice and baked beans were found to be the most beneficial as the risk was reduced by 18 percent in men eating over 10 portions a week. The tomatoes efficiency can be attributed to the presence of lycopene, an antioxidant which combats toxins that usually causes DNA and cell damage.

"Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention.  However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials.  Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active," Vanessa Er from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the Bristol Nutrition BRU said in a press release.

The researchers said that adhering to recommendations on physical activity, diet and body weight for cancer prevention by the World Cancer Research FUND (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is not sufficient in reducing prostate cancer risk as it was introduced to fight the disease in general.

Apart from adopting high intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fibre, additional dietary recommendations should be developed.

The finding is published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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