Thursday, 12 July 2007

Lycopene, tomatoes don't prevent cancer after all

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Recently, the FDA concluded that tomatoes, which are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, don't appear to prevent cancer after all, at least in their opinion. Some studies had linked lycopene to a reduced risk of prostate, colon, and breast cancers, but after a review of 107 studies, the agency says that it can't find enough evidence to definitively say that lycopene prevents disease.

The American Cancer Society barely blinked at the news, saying that they stay away from recommending any one food for the prevention of disease. Instead, they recommend people eat a diet rich in fresh produce and encourage people to eat a variety of richly colored vegetables. Not only is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables linked to a lower risk of cancer, it can also help to prevent weight gain which is tied to a higher risk of several diseases.

No one is giving up on the good old tomato. Health experts say that lycopene may indeed have a role in preventing cancer, and that future studies may provide more definitive evidence. In addition to lycopene, tomatoes are a great source of vitamins C, A, and B6, as well as niacin, folate, and potassium.

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