Adding plump red tomatoes to your salad is a great way to add some cancer-fighting food into your diet because tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, along with other phytochemicals. AICR’s expert report and its updates found that tomatoes and other food containing lycopene lower the risk of prostate cancer, specifically. Now, a new lab study suggests that eating tomatoes with soy foods may be even more protective against prostate cancer than each food consumed separately.
They study was published online in Cancer Prevention Research.
For the study, researchers wanted to look at the effects of tomato and soy — separately and in combination — on prostate cancer development. Along with tomato and its phytochemicals, lab studies have suggested that soy and its compounds also reduce prostate cancer risk.
The study used a type of mice genetically engineered to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Researchers placed the mice into four diet groups: 1) whole tomato powder; 2) soy germ; 3) tomato powder and soy germ; and 4) control group that did not eat soy or tomato. Soy germ, just like wheat germ, is the reproductive part of the soy that germinates to grow into a plant.
The mice ate the assigned diet from four weeks to 18 weeks old and, according to the authors, this period of feeding is reflective of an early and lifelong exposure to the phytochemicals in the foods.
At the end of the study, almost half of the mice (45 percent) consuming a combination of soy and tomato were free of prostate cancer compared to the mice that did not eat soy or tomato. Sixty-one percent in the tomato-eating group, and 66 percent in the soy germ group developed cancer. All of the mice in the control group developed the disease.
The researchers emphasize that their findings support AICR and the government’s dietary recommendations that a variety of fruits and vegetables provides a healthy and cancer-protective diet.
For more information on ongoing research with soy and other foods, visit AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health; the University of Illinois; and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.