Eating tomatoes could be associated with a decreased risk of liver cancer caused by high-fat diets, revealed a latest study. The study said that tomatoes are rich in lycopene- a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent- adding them to your diet may help reduce risk of fatty liver disease, inflammation and liver cancer development. The study conducted on mice was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
"Consuming whole foods like tomatoes and processed tomatoes from sauces, tomato paste, canned whole tomato products, ketchup and juice, provides the best source of lycopene," said Xiang-Dong Wang, Professor at Tufts University in the US.
Interestingly, we observed that tomato powder is more effective than the same dose of purified lycopene supplementation to prevent liver cancer development, said Wang.
The researchers said that this could be due to the potential beneficial effects of other nutrients in a whole tomato, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, minerals, phenolic compounds and dietary fibres.
Interestingly, when the mice were fed tomato powder, the team noticed an increased richness and diversity of beneficial microbiota and prevented the over-growth of some bacteria related to inflammation
To study the effect of lycopene on cancer cells, infant mice were infected with a liver carcinogen, they were then fed an unhealthy high-fat diet similar to a Western diet, with or without tomato powder containing lycopene.
Apart from tomatoes, foods like guava, watermelon, grapefruit, papaya and sweet red pepper also contain lycopene, but the concentration is much lower as compared to tomatoes.
Eating tomatoes and tomato products such as tomato sauce rich in lycopene is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and certain cancers, including prostate, lung, breast and colon cancer, the study showed.
(With inputs IANS)