Monday, June 11, 2012

Men, Tomatoes Are Your Friend!

Lycopene (Photo credit: krossbow)
June 11th-17th is National Men's Health Awareness Week and "Today's Dietitian" just published an article on the benefits of a tomato-rich diet for men.  We've known for a while about lycopene; a carotenoid found mainly in processed tomato products, such as catsup.  However, there are also two other carotenoids, among other nutrients, that tomatoes contain that may help to boost their preventative powers where prostate cancer is concerned - phyoteone and phytofluene.  The article in Today's Dietitian also points out that unfortunately, it's nearly inevitable that a man will end up with prostate cancer if they live long enough (both of my grandfather's did).  However, it's also noted that based on ten studies involving tomatoes and tomato products, there is significant data reinforcing their preventative powers.  When looking at combined data from these studies, men who consumed high amount of raw tomato products, a 11% reduced risk of prostate cancer and for those consuming a high intake of cooked tomato products, a 19% reduced risk!  So why are the processed products better for prostate cancer prevention?  To put it simply, the cooking helps to break down compounds or the "matrix" in raw tomatoes that makes the lycopene less available.  So men, hit your local farm stand for some juicy fresh tomatoes and grab your grandmother's recipe for her home-made tomato sauce!  Studies suggest that 2-3 servings per week is enough to reap the preventative benefits.  The "Today's Dietitian" article also gives us a recipe for "Home-Style Turkey Vegetable Lasagna" (see bottom of article) which looks very yummy!  Enjoy and celebrate your health this week!

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