“Tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer, as well as reduce tumour growth among men with the condition,” said medical website Healthline.
“They contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene.
“Further research is needed to confirm a benefit, but one review found a trend suggesting men who ate more tomatoes and tomato-based products, both raw and cooked, may be less likely to develop prostate cancer.”
Whether tomatoes can prevent prostate cancer has been under debate for a while with most organisations, including Prostate Cancer UK, now saying the fruit “may” have an impact.
The preventative impact could be due to lycopene, a nutrient tomatoes contain.
“Lycopene may decrease cell damage and slow cancer cell production,” said Healthline.
“But because it is tightly bound to cell walls, our bodies have a difficult time extracting it from raw tomatoes.”
A British study, published in 2014 by the journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found that eating 10 servings of tomatoes a week could reduce your risk.
The researchers assessed the diet and lifestyle of almost 14,000 men, finding that this many tomato portions reduced your risk by 18 per cent.
Vanessa Er, lead researcher and from the University of Bristol said, “Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention. However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm this”.
Dr Wendy Winnall, writing for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, recommended that men should eat a lot of tomatoes “if they are part of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, which we know is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of cancer.
“There remains a considerable body of evidence in favour of tomatoes and lycopene in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, not enough to be irrefutable, but enough for the idea to remain plausible.”
Prostate Cancer UK said on its website that foods containing lycopene, “including tomatoes and some other red fruits and vegetables”, and those containing selenium, such as Brazil nuts, may reduce your risk of developing the cancer.
“But experts at the World Cancer Research fund looked at the results of lots of different studies, and are now less certain about the links between these foods and prostate cancer risk.
“They now say there isn’t enough evidence to say whether or not any individual foods reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”
Some foods can increase your risk of prostate cancer, according to Prostate Cancer UK.
This includes milk, yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy products could increase your risk.
“This might be because of the calcium in dairy products or it could be something else,” they say on their website.
“We need more research to find out whether eating less calcium or fewer dairy products might help to prevent prostate cancer.”
According to the Physicians Committee for responsible medicine, research has repeatedly shown that milk is a risk factor, with one study in northern Italy suggesting it could increased your risk by two and one-half times.