You say to-may-to … I say to-mah-to. But the real answer may be lycopene, seen as the healthful constituent in tomatoes and which accounts for half of all carotenoids found in human blood, and which also accumulates in particular in the prostate, adrenal glands and testes.
A recent Harvard University study found that the more tomato sauce men consume, the less frequency of advanced prostate cancer they get.1 Assessing the sum of current research as of 2006, German scientists said it seemed that all it takes is a single serving of tomatoes or tomato products every day to protect men from getting prostate cancer. They noted that supplementation with lycopene alone did not show the same relation as whole-food tomatoes or tomato products such as marinara sauce.2
The same researchers gave the garden another look in 2009 and concluded that tomatoes could also be useful for benign prostate hyperplasia, which is an enlarged prostate that results in frequent urination and other discomforts, though is not considered to be necessarily a precursor to prostate cancer.
Lycopene is also twice the carotenoid as its more well-known cousin, beta-carotene. It is also a potent antioxidant.3
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about lycopene: “Numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. However, estimates of lycopene consumption have been based on reported tomato intake, not on the use of lycopene supplements. Since tomatoes are sources of other nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, it is not clear that lycopene itself is beneficial.”
Before you give up on supplements, though, there are supplements that represent whole-tomato extracts – everything, in essence, but the water.
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