Will Eating Tomatoes Lower Your Risk of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in American men and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in black men. All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but black men get prostate cancer at a younger age, tend to have a more severe type of prostate cancer, and are more than twice as likely to die from their disease compared to other men. However, if detected early you are less likely to die because of the many treatments available. Moreover, there is growing evidence that what you eat may lower your risk of prostate cancer.

Evidence shows that Lycopene, a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red color, may play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer and reduce tumor growth in men with prostate cancer.

Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelons, red oranges, pink grapefruits, apricots, rosehips, and guavas. But the best sources of lycopene are tomatoes and tomato products such as ketchup, tomato juice, sauce, or paste. About 80 percent of lycopene in the average American diet comes from tomatoes and tomato products.

Not all tomato products are created equal. Studies show that cooking tomatoes and eating them with some fat change the lycopene into a more absorbable form. In one study blood lycopene levels increased more when tomato juice was