Studies Show Tomatoes May Help Prevent Cancer – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 188

Studies Show Tomatoes May Help Prevent Cancer – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 188

Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph

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Lycopene is a red pigment in fruits and vegetables, so it’s a carotenoid. Unlike some other carotenoids, it is not converted into Vitamin A. It stays as Lycopene. The best known source for Lycopene is tomato products, like tomato paste, tomato sauce and tomato juice. The Lycopene is stuck in the fiber of the raw tomatoes, so you really want tomato products to help with absorption. It is also found in very ripe watermelons, red oranges, pink grapefruits, apricots, guavas and mangoes.  

Studies have shown that if you have a lot of Lycopene in your bloodstream, your skin is less damaged by the sun. It has some photoprotective activity. It doesn’t really replace the need for sunscreen, but it offers you some protection from the inside out. But there is also a lot of evidence indicating the use of Lycopene for cancer prevention.  Lycopene has been related to reducing the risk of certain cancers, like prostate cancer and some forms in the digestive tract. While doing research on the relationship between Lycopene and our skin, I found 72 meta-analyses about Lycopene and cancer prevention. That’s a huge amount. That means there’s so many studies involved because each meta-analysis can contain anywhere from 5 to 100 studies.  


A meta-analysis done by the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston in conjunction with Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at carotenoids and breast cancer. Lycopene was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 22% when comparing the highest and lowest intakes of the nutrient. Breast cancer is a very common cancer, so reducing the risk by that much is very powerful because it affects many, many, many thousands of women in a very good way. 

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Another meta-analysis, completed by the US National Cancer Institute, John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, the Keck School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of California San Francisco and additional international institutions, looked at the relationship between Lycopenes and prostate cancer. The analysis, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at 15 studies and found that Lycopene reduced the risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 35%. That’s really important. Many prostate cancers are very mild and never become life-threatening. In fact, people die of old age with these types of prostate cancer. But if it becomes an aggressive form of prostate cancer, it could spread into other parts of your body and become life-threatening. It’s very difficult to treat.  For more studies indicating the effects of Lycopene on cancer prevention, make sure to tune into the full podcast episode!   

Thank you for tuning in to the Invite Health Podcast. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting Make sure you subscribe and leave us a review! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at Invite Health today. We’ll see you next time on another episode of the Invite Health Podcast.

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