According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, eating a diet rich in tomatoes could protect postmenopausal women against breast cancer.
The risk of breast cancer rises as women age and is especially high after menopause due to the increase in body weight , sugar and fat content in the bodies of postmenopausal women.
The research found a link between eating large amounts of tomatoes and tomato products and an increase in the production of Adiponectin which is a hormone known to regulate glucose levels and has been shown to influence the risk of breast cancer.
According to Llanos, fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, vitamins and lycopene the phytochemical found in tomatoes, all of which contribute towards lowering the risk of breast cancer.
Soy based diet versus a tomato based diet
The study examined both the effects of a tomato-rich and soy-rich diet. In total seventy postmenopausal participated in the study. For a period of ten weeks, the women were given daily servings of tomato-based products that contained 25mg of lycopene. In another ten week period, 40gm of soy protein were served daily. The women did not eat any soy or tomato products two weeks prior to each 10 week period.
A diet rich in tomato resulted in a 9 per cent rise of the hormone Adiponectin which is involved in the regulation of fat and blood sugar levels on the body. It was also interesting to see that a healthy weight, showed a higher increase in Adiponectin. This finding confirmed the importance of healthy weight maintenance in the prevention of breast cancer.
The other interesting fact which was discovered in this study, was that the soy-rich diet resulted in a lowering of Adiponectin in the body. Researchers in earlier studies theorized that Asian women had lower breast cancer rates partly due to eating a lot of soy products. This however may not be true.
Based on the findings from this study, it is believed that regular consumption of the recommended 5 a day fruit and vegetable servings would encourage breast cancer prevention in postmenopausal women.
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !