Posts Tagged ‘lycopene’

Tomatoes and Not Potatoes May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

July 8, 2016

For many years I have been focused on nutrition and various urologic diseases, especially prostate cancer.  Although the relationship between prostate cancer and diet is certainly a consideration, the use of tomatoes may be one of the strongest preventive options a man can take to avoid prostate cancer.

There are many health advantages of eating more tomatoes, which includes a lower risk of prostate cancer and other cancers as well. While the good news is Americans eat more tomatoes and tomato products than any other non-starchy vegetable, about 90% of adult men fail to consume the 2.5 cups of vegetables per day recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Tomatoes contain a high antioxidant content, specifically lycopene. Lycopene has been the subject of many research studies regarding its protective effect against prostate cancer.

In men with prostate cancer, lycopene supplementation has been shown to be safe and tolerated well in doses up to 120 mg per day for up to one year. Toxicity is generally very mild, with diarrhea as a possible side effect at very high doses.

There appears to be a protective effect of tomatoes and tomato products on the prevention of prostate cancer as well as improvements in biomarkers of disease status, including the PSA levels.

A unique characteristic of tomatoes is that unlike the nutrients in other fresh fruits and vegetables, lycopene is more bioavailable after tomatoes are cooked and processed. This fact opens up even more possibilities for individuals to enjoy the benefits of lycopene.

According to the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, ½ cup of tomato paste contains 18.84 mg of lycopene, while an equal amount of tomato sauce has 17.12 mg, spaghetti sauce has 15.82 mg, and tomato juice has 10.88 mg of lycopene.  One-half cup of raw tomatoes, however, contains only 2.32 mg of lycopene. Non-tomato products that contain lycopene include watermelon (1/2 cup has 3.44 mg) and grapefruit (1/2 fruit contains 1.75 mg).

More recent hypotheses have looked at the advantages of whole tomatoes, which are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, and identified other protective elements beyond lycopene. Vitamins A and C are potent antioxidants, while fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol, and potassium is helpful in lowering blood pressure and possibly reducing bone loss.

Experts in nutrition and cancer note that the preponderance of evidence suggests that consumption of whole tomatoes and tomato products should be preferentially recommended because of greater consistency of documented positive outcomes with the whole tomato and the concomitant supply of other important essential nutrients.

Given that tomatoes and tomato products are already dietary favorites, increasing their consumption can achieve several goals, including reduction in the risk of prostate cancer and other diseases, and helping Americans achieve the recommended daily intake of 2.5 cups of vegetables.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (besides skin cancer) in men and the second most cause of death in men following lung cancer.  Men can be easily diagnosed with a PSA test and a digital rectal exam.  Man can also decrease their risk of prostate cancer by consuming lycopene, an antioxidant, which is plentiful in tomatoes.

Tomatoes Can Punch Out Prostate Cancer

March 14, 2014

Tomatoes Can Punch Out Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer remains one of the most common cancers in men and causes the death of nearly 30,000 men each year. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown but we do know that having a family member with prostate cancer and African American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer which leads me to believe that there is a genetic or hereditary basis for prostate cancer.

A recent study from the Journal of National Cancer Institute has pointed out that increased consumption of lycopenes, which are found in tomatoes, tomato-based products, pink grapefruit, and watermelons appear to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

The study suggests that increasing the consumption of a diet rick in lycopene-containing foods reduces the aggressive potential of prostate cancer. The study showed that a high in take of tomato or tomato-based products was associated with a 10%-20% decrease in prostate cancer risk and those men who had high blood levels of lycopenes had a 25% decrease risk of prostate cancer.

For those men who do not like tomatoes, you can take a supplement of lycopene, 20-25mg per day.

Bottom Line: No one knows for certain why lycopenes decreases the risk of prostate cancer. But as my wise Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit.”

Diet and Cancer

December 7, 2012

The scientists and doctors are telling us repeatedly that weight loss and exercise will give you a leg up on protecting you against many kinds of cancer. It is estimated that 1\3 of all cancers can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a plant-based diet, and being physically active.

If you don’t smoke, controlling your weight is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. More than 100,000 cases of cancer a year could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight.

But now only does ideal weight make a difference but also the food that you eat. People who eat vegetables, beans, fruits nuts, and whole grains, olive oil and fish have fewer cases of cancer and heart disease.

For example cooked tomatoes, such as in tomato sauce, contain large quantities of lycopenes, which may help prevent prostate cancer.

Diets high in fiber from whole grains helps protect against cancer.

And now some good news. Coffee appears to lower the risk of uterine cancer and colon cancer. Men and women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of colon cancer.

Bottom Line: Look at the dietary big picture. Think color. Your plate should have a rainbow of colors: green lettuce, red tomatoes, pink salmon, ruby-red cranberries, bright orange sweet potatoes, and blueberries for desert.