Tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruits and other lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables could help prevent kidney cancer, especially in middle-aged and older women, according to a new study.
The study, released earlier in June at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, followed approximately 92,000 post-menopausal women from the mid-1990s through 2013. Researchers hoped to draw conclusions about health outcomes, such as cancer risk by following the diet and micronutrients of the women. Post-menopausal women are the most likely at risk of kidney cancer, which makes up about 2% of all diagnosed cancers.
Of the group, 383 of the women were diagnosed with kidney cancer during the course of the study.
Researchers found that women who ate foods rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and carotenoid, reduced their risk of kidney cancer by 45%. It also was linked in 2012 to reducing stroke. Lycopene gives certain fruits and vegetables — such as papaya, mangoes, red peppers, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, red cabbage and carrots — a yellow-reddish coloring.
The women who ate the most foods containing lycopene weren’t eating excessive amounts either. Essentially, they ate the amount of lycopene equal to eating four tomatoes per day. Conversely, the women with diets that consisted mostly of processed foods were the most likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
While this research has wonderful findings for preventative health and diet for women, it should be noted that the Mayo Clinic advises on its website that more research should be conducted to establish if lycopene supplements aid in preventing kidney issues.