To evaluate lifestyle and dietary habits, prostate cancer researchers assessed 1,806 men between age 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared them with 12,005 men who were cancer free. This was the first study to evaluate a dietary index that consisted of dietary components that have been linked to prostate cancer — calcium, selenium and foods rich in lycopene.
Researchers found men who had optimal intake of these dietary components had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Most effective were tomatoes and tomato products such as tomato juice and baked beans with an 18 percent risk reduction in men who ate over 10 servings a week.
Lycopene, an antioxidant that fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage, is thought to be the the likely component in tomatoes. Further research is needed to validate these findings.
Researchers studied physical activity, diet and body weight for cancer prevention but only the high intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber were found to be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.