Tomatoes and Cancer: A Perfect Stand Up to Cancer Fruit (or Vegetables? )

Tomatoes can be cooked as vegetables and eaten raw like fruits. They are one of the common foods on the dining table and have good taste and nutritional value.

In addition, many studies at home and abroad show that tomatoes contain a large amount of vitamins, lycopene, carotene, folic acid and trace elements, and are “cancer experts” with good quality and low price.

As to whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables, this is a very difficult question to explain. The United States has even filed a lawsuit over it, so we will not argue about this issue[1].

Next, let’s look at the relationship between tomatoes and cancer.

Tomatoes and Cancer: A Perfect Stand Up to Cancer Fruit (or Vegetables? )
Tomatoes and Cancer: A Perfect Stand Up to Cancer Fruit (or Vegetables? )

Reduce the risk of multiple cancers

“Just as carcinogens are graded, so are the effects of food on cancer prevention. Through epidemiological studies and other relevant evidence, the World Cancer Research Foundation and National Cancer Institute have classified the role of food in reducing cancer risk into four levels:’ sufficient’,’ likely’,’ limited’ and’ impossible’.

You Changxuan, deputy director of the oncology department of the Southern Hospital of Southern Medical University, told the Life Times that tomatoes can be classified into the second category, which is “very likely” cancer prevention food.

Evidence has shown that some chemical components contained in tomatoes can protect the body from carcinogens, thus achieving the effect of preventing cancer. In his view, the anti-cancer substances in tomatoes mainly include the following[3]:

Lycopene Can Prevent Prostate Cancer

Lycopene rich in tomatoes is one of the strongest oxidants found in plants at present. Harvard University found that people who ate 10 servings of tomatoes or tomato products per week had a 45% lower risk of prostate cancer than those who ate less than 2 servings of tomato products. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelons, oranges and other foods, but lycopene is more easily absorbed only when cooked, and its content is the highest in tomatoes, so tomatoes are still the main source of lycopene intake.

Vitamin C can prevent digestive system tumors

Vitamin C has antioxidant and anticancer effects, can prevent nitrate from transforming into carcinogen nitrosamine in digestive tract, can also maintain the integrity of cell matrix structure, and can prevent digestive system tumors such as esophageal cancer and gastric cancer. A study by Zhejiang University found that reasonable intake of Vitamin C can help prevent gastric cancer. Every 100g tomato contains 19 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is 5 times as much as apples and pears.

Carotene Can Prevent Oral Cancer

Tomatoes are rich in carotene. An epidemiological survey published in the International Journal of Stomatology shows that carotene has potential preventive effect on oral cancer from the results of animal experiments and preliminary clinical trials.

Vitamin B6 can prevent bladder cancer

Tomatoes are one of the sources of vitamin B6. Studies have shown that vitamin B6 can inhibit the formation of cancer cells to a certain extent, help synthesize some important enzymes in human body, and then regulate metabolism.

In addition to the above anti-cancer effects, German studies have found that men who consume less lycopene are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as men who consume more lycopene. Tomatoes contain lutein, which can protect eyes and prevent age-related macular degeneration. It is suitable for office workers with common eyes. A U.S. study found that eating foods rich in potassium, such as tomatoes and bananas, can accelerate the excretion of sodium in blood and help lower blood pressure.

Ripe tomatoes can prevent cancer even more

When it comes to tomatoes, many people think of lycopene. Studies have found that this phytochemical has far greater ability to scavenge free radicals than Vitamin C, carotene and vitamin E, can effectively protect the body from oxygen free radicals, and to a certain extent has the effects of preventing cancer, protecting cardiovascular health, delaying aging, protecting skin, etc.[4]

There are many varieties of tomatoes, with great differences in color and size, taste and nutritional quality. Which kind of tomatoes has high lycopene content?

The content of carotene in orange tomatoes is relatively high, while the content of lycopene and carotene in pink tomatoes are not high.

Pale yellow tomatoes contain a small amount of carotene and almost no lycopene.

Generally speaking, the more red and ripe tomatoes are, the higher the lycopene content is and the stronger the anti-cancer ability is.

It should be noted that immature tomatoes should not be eaten because they contain an alkaloid component, commonly known as TOMATINE. Excessive consumption may lead to poisoning, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness and other symptoms.

TOMATINE will gradually reduce its content as tomatoes mature. Therefore, fully ripe tomatoes can be eaten safely.

Ripe tomatoes are more nutritious

Lycopene is the antioxidant component of tomato inside. Its antioxidant capacity is 3.2 times that of Beta carotene and 100 times that of vitamin E.[2]

As a super antioxidant, lycopene can resist the damage of free radicals to human cells and enhance the function of immune system.

Some studies have even shown that lycopene is helpful in resisting heart disease and various cancers.

In terms of varieties, red tomatoes have the highest lycopene content. In terms of maturity, the more ripe tomatoes have the higher lycopene content. Therefore, it is recommended that you buy red ripe tomatoes.

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