Tomatoes In The Diet May Help Lower Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
December 19, 2013

Tomatoes In The Diet May Help Lower Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer

April Flowers for - Your Universe Online

Post-menopausal women may find protection from breast cancer in a tomato-rich diet, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

As their body mass index (BMI) climbs, the risk for breast cancer risk also rises in postmenopausal women. Eating a diet high in tomatoes, the researchers say, has a positive effect on the level of hormones that play a role in regulating fat and sugar metabolism.

“The advantages of eating plenty of tomatoes and tomato-based products, even for a short period, were clearly evident in our findings,” said Adana Llanos, PhD, MPH, who is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Rutgers University.

Working with Electra Paskett, PhD, at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Llanos completed the research while she was a postdoctoral fellow.

“Eating fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as lycopene, conveys significant benefits. 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.”

The study recruited 70 postmenopausal women for a longitudinal cross-over study to examine the effects of both tomato-rich and soy-rich diets. The women ate tomato products containing at least 25 milligrams of lycopene daily for ten weeks. The participants consumed at least 40 grams of soy protein daily in a separate ten-week period. The women were instructed to abstain from eating both tomato and soy products for two weeks before both testing periods.

After the tomato-rich diet testing period, the participants' levels of adiponectin a hormone involved in regulating blood sugar and fat levels rose nine percent. Women with a lower BMI showed a slightly stronger effect.

“The findings demonstrate the importance of obesity prevention,” Llanos said. “Consuming a diet rich in tomatoes had a larger impact on hormone levels in women who maintained a healthy weight.”

The research team found that the soy diet was linked to a reduction in participants’ adiponectin levels. Llanos said that prior research theorized that a diet containing large amounts of soy could be part of the reason that Asian women have lower rates of breast cancer than women in the US, but any beneficial effect may be limited to certain ethnic groups.