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Tomatoes-based Diet in Mice Linked to 50 Percent Reduction in Skin Cancer

By jeremyc | July 15, 2017

If you love tomatoes, then now there’s all the more reason to eat more of them. And if until now you haven’t cared for tomatoes much, it’s time you start eating them regularly.

In a new animal study, the researchers found that mice that was fed tomatoes daily showed a 50 percent lower risk of skin cancer tumors compared to mice that wasn’t.

While the study didn’t explore the relationship between tomato consumption and lower skin cancer risk, the researchers believe this link is because of dietary carotenoids, colored pigments which give certain fruits and vegetables their color. Carotenoids are believed to offer protection against skin damage caused by exposure to UV rays.

The recent builds up on the findings of earlier research, in which scientists had found that regular consumption of tomato paste helped reduce severity of sunburns.

Lycopene is the main carotenoid present in tomatoes. Compared to other carotenoids in tomatoes, lycopene has better antioxidant properties. However, lycopene is not the sole reason behind tomatoes’ ability to protect against UV skin damage. Other compounds might also be contributing. The focus of researchers now is on these ‘other’ compounds.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the number one cancer in the U.S. Every year, more cases of this type of cancer are diagnosed than prostate, lung, and breast cancers combined.


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