Sunday, November 30, 2003

Tomato ingredients 'fight cancer'

Several components of the humble tomato act together to help fight prostate cancer, say researchers.

It had been thought just one chemical, lycopene, had an anti-cancer effect.

But researchers at the Universities of Illinois and Ohio State found lycopene's effect is boosted by other chemicals in the fruit.

The finding, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests lycopene-only dietary supplements have only a limited effect.

Lead researcher Professor John Erdman said: "It has been unclear whether lycopene itself is protective.

"This study suggests that lycopene is one factor involved in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
"But it also suggests that taking lycopene as a dietary supplement is not as effective as eating whole tomatoes.

"We believe people should consume whole tomato products - in pastas, in salads, in tomato juice and even on pizza."

The researchers exposed laboratory rats to a chemical that causes prostate cancer, and then fed them on diets containing whole tomato powder, pure lycopene or no lycopene at all.

Source BBC News

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