You may already be aware, but March is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in the UK. However, did you know that an increasing volume of research is confirming tomatoes and tomato-based foods as a key weapon in the fight against prostate cancer?
As if tomatoes weren’t already healthy enough, prostate cancer risk shows a clear drop as tomato-based consumption increases. This is believed to be due to the presence in tomatoes of a substance called lycopene - the pigment that gives tomatoes their familiar red colouring.
Starving cancer out at source
Lycopene is present in all red-coloured fruits and vegetables but tomatoes have it in particular abundance. It’s an antioxidant and is believed to reduce the ability of cancer cells to connect with the blood supply of the surrounding tissues and as a result slow their growth.
It’s thought that tomatoes help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in particular because lycopene tends to accumulate in the tissues of the prostate gland.
There is also some evidence to suggest that lycopene may be even more readily available and biologically active when it comes from processed tomatoes such as sauces, concentrates and purees.
The take-home message, however, is to make sure you maintain a regular intake of tomatoes and tomato-based foods and drinks in your diet.
Being at one with the tomato
Make sure tomatoes feature heavily in your salads
Add a few slices of tomato to your sandwiches
Switch Orange Juice for Tomato Juice – tomato juice is a great substitute
Add some fresh tomato to your your omelettes, quiches or frittatas
Add some tomato paste to your gravies for a richer taste
Replace fattening dips with a tomato salsa
Stay warm with a tasty, nourishing bowl of tomato soup
Chopped tomatoes make a great topping for baked potatoes
Go for tomato-based sauces on your pasta
Work processed tomatoes such as sauces and canned tomatoes into your cooking wherever you can
And if all else fails… just grab one and eat it!