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Tomatoes and prostate health
More and more medical studies indicate that the antioxidants in vegetables, particularly tomatoes and broccoli, can lower prostate cancer risk, while foods with animal fats increase risk. While ongoing studies are still assessing the value of antioxidant supplements, food scientists say they are already comfortable advocating that men eat a more vegetable-based diet to lower their risk of prostate cancer, not to mention heart disease and colon cancer.
There is also growing observational evidence that both tomato and broccoli consumption helps reduce risk of prostate cancer. In the tomato products, attention has focused on nutrients called carotenoids, particularly lycopene. Lycopene is the major red carotenoid pigment found in tomatoes. In broccoli, a number of sulfur compounds are thought to detoxify carcinogens. Both of these are thought to benefit prostate health. Nutritionist familiar with prostate health recommend seven to ten servings of tomatoes and tomato based products a week, which is still only one serving a day. When counting tomato juices and raw tomatoes and ever popular pasta products, that is not difficult to reach this level. In fact, most men get more than one serving when they consume pasta or even pizza. It’s that easy.
Preparation matters! Carotenoids are very poorly absorbed from raw foods, so some heating really helps bring out the benefits. Consumption with a little healthy fat helps, too. For example take beta-carotene from carrots. Eating a carrot raw leads to 1 or 2 percent beta-carotene absorption. Steaming those carrots a little bit and add a little bit of oil in there, you'll get much more absorption of the beneficial carotenoids. The same is true for tomatoes. By overcooking tomatoes, for example, by simmering a tomato sauce for hours, you’ll begin to break down the lycopene. Everything in moderation please!
Nutrients in foods can lower risk of prostate cancer. In observational studies and clinical trials there are suggestions that higher consumption of vitamin E and selenium lower prostate cancer risk. Vitamin E is found in basic plant foods, including nuts, vegetables, vegetable oils, as well as egg yolks. Vitamin E is also in most breakfast cereals because it is added when manufacturers fortify it. The metallic trace element selenium comes into plants from the soil, so it's in grains such as wheat, barley, hops, and rice. There is also some selenium from animal foods products, because the food animals also consume these grain.