Eating a diet rich in tomatoes may help protect at-risk postmenopausal women from breast cancer, according to US researchers.
Their study found eating a diet high in tomatoes had a positive effect on the level of hormones that play a role in regulating fat and sugar metabolism.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, examined the effects of tomato-rich and soy-rich diets in a group of 70 postmenopausal women.
For 10 weeks, the women ate tomato products containing at least 25 milligrams of lycopene daily. For a separate 10-week period, the participants consumed at least 40 grams of soy protein daily.
Before each test period began, the women were instructed to abstain from eating both tomato and soy products for two weeks.
When they followed the tomato-rich diet, levels of adiponectin – a hormone involved in regulating blood sugar and fat levels – climbed by 9%. The soy diet was linked to a reduction in adiponectin levels.
Lead author Adana Llanos, assistant professor of epidemiology at Rutgers University, said: “The advantages of eating plenty of tomatoes and tomato-based products, even for a short period, were clearly evident in our findings.
“Based on this data, we believe regular consumption of at least the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables would promote breast cancer prevention in an at-risk population,” she said.
“The findings demonstrate the importance of obesity prevention,” she added.
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