Italian food fans, rejoice. New research has found women who eat diets rich in tomatoes and products made from them face a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests the culprit may be lycopene — an antioxidant found in tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables — that has also been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
The National Cancer Institute estimates American women have a 12.4 percent risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives.
The findings, detailed in Medical News Today
, are based on a comparison of 70 women who followed two diets for 10 weeks — one rich in tomatoes and the other heavy on soy products. The results showed women who followed the tomato-rich diet had a 9 percent increase in their levels of adiponectin — a hormone that plays a part in the regulation of fat and blood sugar levels, which can boost cancer risk.
Women who followed the soy-rich diet experienced a reduction in adiponectin levels, linked to increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance.
"Eating fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as lycopene, conveys significant benefits," said Llanos. "Based on this data, we believe regular consumption of at least the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables would promote breast cancer prevention in an at-risk population."
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