These 2 Foods Can Make You Thin & Prevent Prostate Cancer

By on August 23, 2013
While most nutritionists advise their patients to load up on tomatoes and tofu as a healthy way to slim down, research from the University of Illinois says there’s a better reason to eat up: It could reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

Often considered a “slow-growing cancer,” prostate cancer is often hard to cure–and even harder to prevent.

John Erdman, a researcher and University of Illinois professor of food science and nutrition, says this may show a potentially new way to prevent this disease.

“In our study, we used mice that were genetically engineered to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer,” says Erdman. “Even so, half the animals that had consumed tomato and soy had no cancerous lesions in the prostate at study’s end. All mice in the control group–no soy, no tomato–developed the disease.”

Using laboratory mice, Erdman and his researchers split the rodents into four groups and gave them four separate diets: a diet of 10 percent tomato powder; a diet of 2 percent soy germ; a diet of tomato powder and soy germ; and a group which received neither tomato or soy powder. The rodents were given these diets from 4 to 18 weeks old–the equivalent of a lifelong exposure to these foods for humans.

After the study had ended, researchers then investigated any signs of prostate cancer in the mice. The result? Mice who consumed a combination of tomato powder and soy germ were 55 percent less likely to develop prostate tumors–often the first sign of cancer.

“Eating tomato, soy and the combination all significantly reduced prostate cancer incidence,” says Erdman. “But the combination gave us the best results. Only 45 percent of mice fed both foods developed the disease compared to 61 percent in the tomato group, and 66 percent in the soy group.”

But for the mice who skipped both tomatoes and soy, the effect was devastating: All of them developed prostate cancer. Combining tomato and soy together provided the best benefit against the cancer, although tomatoes came in at a close second.

How to Eat to Prevent Cancer

With evidence of a lowered prostate risk, how do these new findings affect men–and should they change their eating habits? According to Krystle Zuniga, co-author of the study, it’s definitely time to makes tomatoes and soy a part of your diet.

“The results of the mouse study suggest that three to four servings of tomato products per week and one to two servings of soy foods daily could protect against prostate cancer,” says Zuniga. “In older men, it often is a slow-growing cancer, and these men often choose watchful waiting over radiation and surgical treatments that have unwelcome side effects.”

However, Erdman notes that opting for more ketchup or a soy replacement won’t do any good here; it’s better to get your food from whole sources. Why? According to Erdman, eating wholesome foods allow your body to be exposed to more bioactive compounds–compounds that work more efficiently at reducing your cancer risk. When you opt for processed foods, or worse, a supplement, you won’t reap these same benefits.

“It’s better to eat a whole tomato than to take a lycopene supplement,” says Erdman.

Readers: Do you eat tomatoes and soy often? Why or why not?

Soy Tomato Combo Effective in Preventing Prostate

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