London - A glass of tomato juice a day could help keep breast cancer at bay, researchers have discovered.
The plant chemical lycopene, which gives tomatoes their rich red colour, is already believed to help ward off prostate cancer.
And women who upped their tomato intake made more of a hormone thought to protect against breast cancer, which is Britain’s most common cancer. Almost 50 000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year, and around 1 000 die from it each month.
The US researchers, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: “The advantages of eating plenty of tomatoes and tomato-based products, even for a short period of time, were clearly evident in our findings.”
The study measured hormone levels in 70 women aged 55 and over before and after upping their tomato intake for ten weeks. All were either overweight or had a close relative with breast cancer, putting them at higher risk of developing the disease themselves.
The lycopene raised levels of the hormone adiponectin by nine percent, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports, which helps regulate fat levels, and obesity is known to raise the odds of breast cancer.
Researcher Adana Llanos said: “The findings demonstrate the importance of obesity prevention. Consuming a diet rich in tomatoes had a larger impact on hormone levels in women who maintained a healthy weight.” - Daily Mail