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Tomato Diet Cuts Postmenopausal Women's Risk of Breast Cancer

Update Date: Dec 18, 2013 05:55 PM EST

Eating a tomato-rich diet may help reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a new study.

New research reveals that eating a diet rich in tomatoes helped increase the level of hormones that regulate fat and sugar metabolism. The positive effect on the level of these hormones is especially beneficial for postmenopausal women because breast cancer risk increases with body mass index.

The latest study examined the effects of both tomato-rich and soy-rich diets in a group of 70 postmenopausal women. In the first experiment, participants were asked to eat tomato products containing at least 25 milligrams of lycopene daily for 10 weeks.  In the second experiment, participants were asked to eat at least 40 grams of soy protein daily for 10 weeks. Before each experiment, the participants were asked to abstain from eating both tomato and soy products for two weeks,

The findings revealed that levels of adiponectin, a hormone involved in regulating blood and sugar and fat levels, increased by 9 percent after following a tomato-rich diet. Researchers said that the being on a tomato-rich diet had a greater impact on hormone levels in women who maintained a healthy weight.

However, a soy diet was linked to a reduction in participants' adiponectin levels.

"The advantages of eating plenty of tomatoes and tomato-based products, even for a short period, were clearly evident in our findings," first author, Adana Llanos, PhD, MPH, who is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Rutgers University, said in a news release.

"Eating fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as lycopene, conveys significant benefits. Based on this data, we believe regular consumption of at least the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables would promote breast cancer prevention in an at-risk population," Llanos added.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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