Source: NJ.com Health
If you’re an older woman who wants to reduce her risk of breast cancer, eat lots of tomatoes.
That’s the conclusion of Rutgers University research published this week in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
A diet rich in tomatoes leads to higher levels of a hormone, called adiponectin, that regulates blood sugar and fat metabolism. Higher levels have shown in other studies to be associated with a lower chance of breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
“The advantages of eating plenty of tomatoes and tomato-based products, even for a short period, were evident in our findings,” said the study’s first author, Adana Llanos, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Rutgers University School of Public Health and a research member at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
Llanos was a postdoctoral fellow at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC) – when she conducted this research.
The study looked at the diets of 70 postmenopausal women. For 10 weeks, the women ate tomato products containing at least 25 milligrams of lycopene daily. For a separate 10-week period, the participants consumed at least 40 grams of soy protein daily. Before each test period began, the women were instructed to abstain from eating both tomato and soy products for two weeks.
When the women ate the tomato-rich diet, participants’ levels of adiponectin climbed 9 percent. The effect was slightly stronger in thinner women. Obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer.
“The findings demonstrate the importance of obesity prevention,” Llanos said. “Consuming a diet rich in tomatoes had a larger impact on hormone levels in women who maintained a healthy weight.”
By contrast, the soy diet resulted in lower adiponectin levels — debunking a theory that soy could be part of the reason that Asian women have lower rates of breast cancer than women in the United States. The benefits, however, may be limited to certain ethnic groups, Llanos said.