We eat tomatoes and they taste really good. The more we eat tomatoes and tomato products we eat the lower our risk of cancer!
The secret lies in lycopene, a carotenoid which gives tomatoes their beautiful red colour. Precesses tomatoes (e.g. tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and ketchup) contain even more lycopene than raw ones because the act of cooking breaks down the cell walls and releases more of it. Lycopene has strong antioxidant properties which can neutralise harmful free radicals that damage cells and can trigger cancer. Free radicals are formed as part of normal digestion which is dealt with by our own enzymes but they are also found in various pollutants including smoke, herbicides, pesticides and even ultraviolet light.
Evidence for the benefit of lycopene’s protective action is strong for cancer of the prostate, lung and stomach.
Source: Giovanni E Ascherio A, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA WilettWC, Intake of carotenoide and retinol in relation to risk of prostate cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995