“Eating tomato, soy, and the combination of the two significantly reduced prostate cancer incidence. But the combination gave the best results,” said lead researcher, John Erdman, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Illinois.
In the study, the researchers used mice that were genetically engineered to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer. The mice were fed one of four different diets from the time they were 4 weeks until they were 18 weeks old.
The first group consumed 10% whole tomato powder, the second group ate 2% soy germ and the third group was given both soy germ and tomato powder while the latter group was a control group that was given neither substance.
They found that only 45 percent of mice fed both foods developed prostate cancer, compared to 61 percent in the tomato group, and 66 percent in the soy group. All of the mice not fed either tomato or soy developed the disease.
“The result of the study suggests that having 3 to 4 servings of tomato products per week and 1 to 2 servings of soy foods per day may protect against prostate cancer,” said study co-author Krystle Zuniga.
According to the scientist, this finding reinforces the recommendation that we all should eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
“It is better to eat whole tomatoes rather than taking lycopene supplements and it’s better to drink soy milk instead of taking soy isoflavones. When you eat whole foods, you expose yourself to the entire array of cancer-fighting foods, bioactive components in these foods,” Erdman said
There are many other ways to prevent prostate cancer, including getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, and coping with stress.