Fighting prostate cancer with a tomato-rich diet

August 27, 2014
Fighting prostate cancer with a tomato-rich diet

Men who eat over 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests.

With 35,000 new cases every year in the UK, and around 10,000 deaths, is the second most common cancer in men worldwide.

Rates are higher in developed countries, which some experts believe is linked to a Westernised diet and lifestyle.

To assess if following dietary and lifestyle recommendations reduces risk of prostate cancer, 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 NIHR-funded study, published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is the first study of its kind to develop a prostate cancer 'dietary index' which consists of – selenium, calcium and foods rich in lycopene – that have 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 per cent reduction in risk found in men eating over 10 portions a week. This is thought to be due to lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage.

Vanessa Er, from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition BRU, led the research.

She said: "Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in .  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."

The researchers also looked at the recommendations on physical activity, diet and body weight for cancer prevention published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). 

Only the recommendation on plant foods – high intake of fruits, vegetables and - was found to be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.  As these recommendations are not targeted at prostate , researchers concluded that adhering to these recommendations is not sufficient and that additional dietary recommendations should be developed. 

The research was carried out at the National Institute for Health Research Bristol Nutrition Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol (NIHR Bristol Nutrition BRU). The research was carried out as part of the ProtecT study, which is funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme.

Explore further: Lifestyle factors linked to less aggressive prostate cancer

More information: The complete study is available online: cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/07/12/1055-9965.EPI-14-0322.full.pdf+html

Related Stories

Lifestyle factors linked to less aggressive prostate cancer

July 22, 2013

(HealthDay)—Adherence to lifestyle recommendations intended to reduce the risk of cancer generally is associated with a lower risk of highly aggressive prostate cancer in men newly diagnosed with the disease, according ...

Vasectomy may increase risk of aggressive prostate cancer

July 9, 2014

Vasectomy was associated with a small increased risk of prostate cancer, and a stronger risk for advanced or lethal prostate cancer according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The researchers found ...

Recommended for you

Researchers thwart cancer cells by triggering 'virus alert'

August 27, 2015

Working with human cancer cell lines and mice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and elsewhere have found a way to trigger a type of immune system "virus alert" that may one day boost cancer patients' ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.