The anti-cancer properties of lycopene – the carotenoid found in tomatoes – have been written about before, but a new study underlines the importance of eating the fruit itself rather than taking lycopene as a dietary supplement.
Researchers believe the protection comes from a complex interaction achieved only when the whole tomato is eaten. Rats fed on tomato powder fared better than their counterparts who were given pure lycopene, and developed fewer cancers, one study found.
Tomatoes especially offer protection against prostate cancer, so if you’re a man nudging your 40s, start eating pastas with tomato sauce, eat tomato salads, drink tomato juice, and even treat yourself to a pizza.
(Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2003; 95: 1578-86).