2 Your Health Will eating pizza protect against prostate cancer? - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

2 Your Health Will eating pizza protect against prostate cancer?

2 Your Health Will eating pizza protect against prostate cancer?

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CHARLESTON, SC -

A professor at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina says that the lycopene in fresh tomatoes may not prevent prostate cancer, but the lycopene in pizza sauce might.  Dr, Anthony Alberg says cooked tomatoes have proven benefits.

"There has been quite a bit of interest in the public and in cartoons about eating pizza to prevent prostate cancer.  But in fact there are reasons to believe or that is plausible as to why that could be true." Dr Alberg said.

The National Institutes of Health followed over 30,000 men in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Trial. Cancer-free men aged 55 to 74 were given PSA tests when they entered the study and then follow-up blood work and digital (finger) examinations every year for four years. They were also queried about all the foods they ate on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

The scientists learned that the most lycopene was to be found in:

  • Tomato juice, and
  • Tomato sauce.

And the men in the study consumed more sauce than any other product.

The greatest protection against prostate cancer, however, was found with consumption of:

  • Pizza,
  • Lasagna, and
  • Spaghetti

Lycopene dissolves in fat, not water. Oils and fats carry this important plant compound to the lining of the colon where it can be absorbed, but watery foods simply pass through without entering the body.

"Laboratory evidence from animal and cellular models of prostate cells demonstrating plausible mechanisms by which lycopene could prevent against prostate cancer." Dr Alberg says. 

Dr. Alberg adds it is easier for the body to absorb lycopene if the tomato has been cooked.  Cooking makes the healing plant compound easier for the body to take in.

There are limits, of course, to how much spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza are really cancer-preventive, especially since they are usually prepared with high amounts of saturated fat. In the National Institutes of Health study, this was about once a week.


 

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