Maters matter for men

New research links lycopene and other compounds to lower risk of prostate cancer.

Men who keep marinara on the menu have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, according to new research.

A British study suggests that men who eat over ten portions each week of tomatoes have an 18-percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer. The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention and noted on

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford examined the diets and lifestyles of 1,806 men between the ages of 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared them to the diets and lifestyles of 12,0005 cancer-free men.

The study is the first its kind to develop a prostate cancer “dietary index” which consists of dietary components – selenium, calcium and foods rich in lycopene – that have been linked to prostate cancer, according to a Bristol University release. Men who ate more foods with these compounds had a lower risk of prostate cancer, with lycopene-rich tomatoes and foods made from tomatoes being the most beneficial.

Another recent British study suggested that a daily lycopene supplement might improve the function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease.

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 prostate cancer prevention," said Vanessa Er, the study's lead researcher from the University of Bristol School of Social and Community Medecine.  "However," she said, "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.” So gentlemen, toss a nice pesto in the mix every so often.

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