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Soy and Tomato Cut the Risk of Prostate Cancer in Half

Update Date: May 09, 2013 09:46 AM EDT

Tomato and soy foods are known to have healthful properties. A recent study found that, when eaten together, they are better able to prevent prostate cancer than when eating alone.

"In our study, we used mice that were genetically engineered to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Even so, half the animals that had consumed tomato and soy had no cancerous lesions in the prostate at study's end. All the mice in the control group - no soy, no tomato - developed the disease," study author John Erdman, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Illinois, said in a statement.

The mice were separated into four groups and were given one of four diets. One group ate a diet of which 10 percent was made up of tomato powder. Another group ate a diet of which 2 percent was made up of soy germ. The third group ate a diet in which they received tomato powder and soy germ. The control group had a diet in which they received neither tomato nor soy. The mice received the diets over the course of four to 18 weeks.

While eating tomato and soy on their own reduced the incidence of prostate cancer, the combination received the best results. While 66 percent of mice in the soy group and 61 percent of mice in the tomato group developed prostate cancer, the same was said by only 45 percent of the mice that received both foods.

Researchers said that the amount of soy that the mice received was comparable to that of Asian men who eat soy products daily. Indeed, in countries where soy is eaten regularly, men tend to have lower rates of prostate cancer.

In order for men to receive the same effect as the mice, they say that men would need to eat three to four servings of tomato a week, as well as one to two servings of soy a day. They say that it is best to actually eat or drink tomato and soy, rather than taking supplements to receive the same materials.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men. When it is caught early, the survival rate is close to 100 percent.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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