Less Strokes with Lycopene? Also What Benefits if any of Lycopene for Cancer
Could eating tomatoes help prevent strokes?
A Finnish study suggests that high blood levels of lycopene, unlike those of other antioxidants, may be associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke. Vegetables, especially tomatoes, are a significant source of lycopene.
Intake of fruits and vegetables and levels of serum carotenoids have been associated with decreased risk of stroke, but the results have been inconsistent. The aim of the present study was to examine whether serum concentrations of major carotenoids, α-tocopherol and retinol, are related to any stroke and ischemic stroke in men. The analysis, published in the journal Neurology, prospectively followed 1,031 men ages 46 to 55, measuring their blood levels of five antioxidants and recording incidents of stroke.
Lycopene a chemical which is found in tomatoes has also been touted as a possible agent to lower cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society "Studies that look at large groups of people (observational studies) in many countries have shown that the risk for some types of cancer is lower in people who have higher levels of lycopene in their blood. Studies suggest that diets rich in tomatoes may account for this reduction in risk. Evidence is strongest for lycopene's protective effect against cancer of the lung, stomach, and prostate. It may also help to protect against cancer of the cervix, breast, mouth, pancreas, esophagus, and colon and rectum".
Some population studies have found that a diet high in lycopene from tomato-based foods was linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Other studies, however, found no link between tomato products or other lycopene-rich foods and prostate cancer. A recent study suggested that variation in a particular gene (known as XRCC1) that helps repair damaged DNA influences whether lycopene intake will affect a man's prostate cancer risk.