Tomatoes & Prostates

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on tomatoes and their positive impact on the prostate.

A Tomato a Day...

When researchers fed one serving of pasta with tomato sauce every day for three weeks to 32 men who were scheduled for prostate surgery, levels of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in the patients dropped by 20 percent. Since PSA is a measure of prostate cancer cell activity, lower levels mean a better prognosis.

The men were given the tomato sauce and pasta for three weeks before they underwent surgery to remove their prostates. When their prostate tissues were later examined, the 32 tomato-sauce-eaters also had less DNA damage than the seven similar men who went sauce-less.

Other studies suggest that lycopene, a carotenoid and antioxidant, is the phytochemical in tomatoes that protects the prostate. (Lycopene is easier to absorb if the tomatoes are cooked.)

What to do: Although it's too early to say that tomato sauce can prevent or slow the growth of prostate cancer, men who have the disease should shoot for one serving a day. Healthy men should also consider eating tomato sauce more often In other studies, men who ate tomato sauce two to four times a week had a lower risk of prostate cancer than men who ate it less often.

Source: Nutrition Action Health Letter Journal of the National Cancer Institute 93: 1872, 2001.

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