Cooked or processed tomatoes may have considerable health benefits.
NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters Health) - Consuming tomato-based products may reduce DNA damage in the prostate cells of men with prostate cancer, a new study suggests.
The report found that those patients who consumed one daily pasta dish with tomato sauce for 3 weeks had lower levels of DNA damage in prostate tissues and cells. Pasta eaters also had lower levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein in the blood that is measured to assess the risk of prostate cancer.
The researchers attribute their findings to lycopene, an antioxidant found abundantly in tomato sauce, and note that earlier studies have found a correlation between a high intake of lycopene and a lower risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene, they explain, may help to reduce damage caused by free radicals, naturally occurring by products of metabolism which lead to aging and disease. The study included 32 prostate cancer patients ages 60 to 74 who were compared with seven men who did not eat the additional tomato-sauce based meals.
More research is needed to confirm the findings and to determine whether lycopene or another compound in tomatoes is responsible for the effect seen in the study, Dr. Phyllis E. Bowen from the University of Illinois in Chicago, told Reuters Health. Further studies should also include men at risk for prostate cancer, and seek to determine how lycopene or some other compound reduces DNA damage and PSA levels.
"For those men who like tomatoes and tomato sauces, I would encourage them to incorporate more in their diet," said Bowen, the study's senior author, in an interview. "Tomato sauces and beverages can count for one or two of vegetable servings for the day, which is consistent with our current dietary advice to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day."
The study is published in the December 19th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
All study volunteers consumed one tomato-based pasta entrée for 3 weeks before undergoing surgery to have their prostate removed. Dishes included sausage lasagne, baked rigatoni, penne pasta and stuffed shells with three-quarters of a cup of spaghetti sauce--equal to about 30 milligrams (mg) of lycopene per day.
Lycopene concentrations increased nearly threefold in prostate tissue after 3 weeks, while PSA levels fell and DNA damage to prostate cells each declined, according to the study findings.
"This is one of the first studies that shows that a food product with suspected phytochemicals such as lycopene acts as an...antioxidant to such an extent that it can lower DNA damage," Bowen said in an interview.
The study was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services and Hunt-Wesson, Inc., a manufacturer of commercial spaghetti sauce.
SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2001;93:1872-1879.
Tomato-based foods and
tomatoes may reduce the risk of damage to the lungs caused by ozone, according to new
preliminary findings presented this week at an international scientific
symposium "On the Role of Tomato Products in Carotenoids and Disease
This study, and others, presented at the symposium, sponsored by the American Health Foundation, indicate a variety of new potential benefits from consumption of tomato-based foods including possible protection against age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other diseases of the eye.
"The latest findings on the benefits of tomato carotenoids, including lycopene, suggest that they may play a role in lung and vision function in healthy people," says Daniel Nixon, MD, president of the American Health Foundation, and director of the Foundation's Cancer Center.
"Other studies presented further add to our understanding of the benefits that tomato-based foods may have for protection against cancers in specific organs, such as the prostate and lungs, and more recently to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, “Nixon added.
At the symposium Frederick Khachik from the University of Maryland presented new preliminary information that suggests that carotenoids, particularly lycopene, may protect the eye against oxidative damage and thereby play a critical role in visual function. Dr. Khachik's research review builds on the well established knowledge that lutein and zeaxanthin are the two main dietary carotenoids in ocular tissues and may provide protection against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in those 65 and older.
Lycopene is found in high concentrations in ocular tissues, with the exception of neural retina and the lens.
During the symposium scientists discussed research showing that the cooking and processing of tomato products may make lycopene more readily available to the body, indicating that there may be an added health benefit to eating processed tomato foods like tomato soup, pasta sauce and vegetable.
Scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen have set up a commercial organisation to market a substance called CardioFlow which is extracted from tomatoes and which could help prevent heart disease.
The human body treats glutamate that is added to foods in the form of MSG the same as the natural glutamate found in food. For instance, the body does not distinguish between free glutamate from tomatoes, cheese or mushrooms and the glutamate from MSG added to foods. Glutamate is glutamate, whether naturally present or from MSG
Most people are unaffected by MSG. The evidence indicates, however, that there may be a small number of individuals who experience a mild hypersensitivity-type reaction when a large quantity of MSG is consumed in a single meal.
The types of symptoms experienced in response to large amounts of MSG may vary from individual to individual, but can include headache, numbness/tingling, flushing, muscle tightness, and generalised weakness. These reactions, while unpleasant, tend to be transient and do not produce any long-lasting effects, and are quite distinct from the more serious allergic (IgE-mediated) reactions experienced by some people in response to certain foods, such as peanuts.
Take a tomato, not over-ripe, and cut into slices as you would a cucumber; take a small onion and one garlic and cut them up fine as you can; sprinkle it over the tomato slices; add salt, pepper, lime juice and vinegar at discretion.
I have tried Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar with Basil and Oregano and it works well.
All of the above was extracted from various sources on the internet
Tony Hadley Oct 2002