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Can Tomatoes Help Prevent Cancer?

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Tomatoes are packed with cancer fighting bioactive agents. The antioxidant properties of Vitamins A and C, Lycopene, Glutathione, Beta carotene and phenolic compounds like quercetin and chlorogenic acid in tomatoes prevent damage caused by free radicals and peroxidation. Add tomatoes to your diet to mitigate the risks of cancer.

Tomatoes Help Prevent Cancer

One of the most common fruits, the tomato, is often underestimated. Tomatoes offer versatility and flavor and can be used in a wide array of everyday dishes. Besides being great on the tastebuds, tomatoes are also loaded with nutrients that are great for the body.

Cancer Preventing Properties of Tomato

Studies have revealed that consuming raw tomato and its products could be associated with a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This protective effect could be connected to the fact that it has several bioactive components with antioxidant properties.

Phenolic Compounds

Tomatoes contain quercetin, naringenin, rutin and chlorogenic acid as the main phenolic compounds. These have been associated with the inhibition of atherosclerosis and cancer due to their ability to prevent lipid peroxidation and the occurrence of free radicals.1

Recent studies have revealed that Quercetin inhibits cell proliferation by causing cell cycle arrest and inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells.2

Chlorogenic acid has been found to be effective in  preventing the formation of cancer-causing digestive nitrosamines.3

[Read: Can Eating Grilled Meat Cause Cancer?]

Vitamins A and C

According to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Cancer Institute, intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin A and C could lower the risk of cancer. Tomatoes and tomato-based products have been recommended as such.4

Lycopene

The red hue of tomato comes from a ingredient called ‘Lycopene’. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells – mainly in the breast, lung and endometrium regions. There is also evidence to suggest that Lycopene helps protect against prostate cancer.5

Glutathione

Glutathione is a naturally occurring antioxidant produced by your cells to fight destructive free radicals. Glutathione helps create lymphocytes – the lack of which causes immuno-deficiency diseases and reduction of antibodies. Glutathione is best obtained from raw tomatoes.6

Beta Carotene

Beta Carotene, an important constituent in Tomato, is an antioxidant that helps reduce damaging free-radicals and chronic illnesses. When consumed as part of whole foods, fruits or vegetables, beta-carotene has been shown to boost the immune system and reduce risk of cancer.7

Conclusion

Tomatoes are packed with cancer-fighting nutrients. A tomato a day might just be what you need to keep cancer away.

 

References   [ + ]

1.Pinela, José, et al. “Nutritional composition and antioxidant activity of four tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) farmer’varieties in Northeastern Portugal homegardens.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 50.3 (2012): 829-834.
2.Jeong, Jae‐Hoon, et al. “Effects of low dose quercetin: Cancer cell‐specific inhibition of cell cycle progression.” Journal of cellular biochemistry 106.1 (2009): 73-82.
3.Kono, Yasuhisa, et al. “The suppression of the N-nitrosating reaction by chlorogenic acid.” Biochem. J 312 (1995): 947-953.
4.Giovannucci, Edward. “Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: review of the epidemiologic literature.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 91.4 (1999): 317-331.
5.Foods That Fight Cancer?. American Institute For Cancer Research.
6.Balendiran, Ganesaratnam K., Rajesh Dabur, and Deborah Fraser. “The role of glutathione in cancer.” Cell biochemistry and function 22.6 (2004): 343-352.
7.Beta-carotene overview. University Of Maryland Medical Center.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.