According to the National Cancer Institute, women in the U.S. have a 12.4% risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. This risk increases with age, with women over the age of 50 having a 1 in 42 chance of developing the disease. The risk may further increase as a woman’s body mass index (BMI) climbs.
Results of a new study, led by Adana Llanos of Rutgers University, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that a diet rich in tomatoes may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
For the first 10 weeks of the study the women were required to follow a tomato-rich diet which included 25 mg of lycopene daily. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
For the last 10 weeks of the study the women followed a soy-rich diet. They consumed at least 40 g of soy protein daily.
The results of the study showed that when the women followed the tomato-rich diet, they had a 9% increase in their levels of adiponectin. This is a hormone that plays a part in the regulation of fat and blood sugar levels. The researchers noted this effect was more notable for women who had a lower BMI.
However, when the women followed the soy-rich diet, this led to a reduction in adiponectin levels. Low adiponectin levels are linked to an increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance.
Said Llanos, “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 daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables would promote cancer prevention in an at-risk population.”
Llanos also points out that their findings emphasize the importance of obesity prevention, since a tomato-rich diet had a bigger impact on adiponectin levels of women who maintained a healthy body weight. Medical News Today 12/23/13