If you are one of those that loves to eat tomatoes, you have every reason to be happy as your favourite fruit could help reduce your risk of getting cancer.
With all the warnings to wear sunscreen and cover up, more and more people are becoming aware of skin cancer and its attendant problems.
Now however, scientists researching how to prevent skin cancer have come up with good news for all lovers of tomatoes, as they say eating the red fruit may greatly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
In a study conducted on mice at Ohio State University, researchers found that male mice fed a diet of 10 percent tomato powder every day for 35 weeks before being exposed to ultraviolet light had a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumours when compared to mice who didn’t get the tomato powder.
Researchers say the crucial link between tomatoes and cancer is dietary carotenoids, which give tomatoes their colour and may protect skin against UV light damage.
The findings of the study was published online in the journal Scientific Reports, and it revealed that the tumours were higher for female mice compared to the males.
The study showed that there is a need for everyone to consider sex when exploring different cancer preventive strategies. What works in men may not always work equally well in women and vice versa.
This study is not the first to highlight the ability of tomatoes to protect against UV light damage. Previous clinical trials suggest that eating tomato paste might help prevent sunburn.
Researchers at the University of Manchester and the University of Newcastle in the U.K. found that the effect of eating tomatoes over a 12-week period was equivalent to slapping on low-powered SPF sunscreen. Once again, this effect is down to those carotenoids.
Lycopene, the primary carotenoid in tomatoes, has been shown to be the most effective antioxidant of these pigments.
Other health benefits are plentiful. They are loaded with calcium and vitamin K, to help keep bones healthy. They also boast high levels of vitamins A and C, which help strengthen immunity and eliminate harmful free radicals from the body.
Preventing skin cancer, and eating a healthy diet should be at the top of the list. Foods are not drugs, but they can possibly, over the lifetime of consumption, alter the development of certain diseases.
The American Institute for Cancer Research says eating a variety of plant foods ensures the most protection against cancer development.