Ohio State researchers report a three year study shows eating tomatoes may lessen the risk of developing skin cancer.
The Ohio State University study, published in Scientific Reports, found that mice fed tomatoes daily over 35 weeks and exposed to ultraviolet light saw a 50 percent decrease in the development of skin cancer tumors compared to mice that did not consume tomatoes.
Research scientist Jessica Cooperstone, who co-authored the study, says the theory is that dietary carotenoids, the pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color, may protect against UV light damage.
Cooperstone says lycopene, the primary carotenoid in tomatoes, is the most effective antioxidant of these pigments. However, a synthetic supplement does not appear to be as effective as a regular tomato, suggesting other compounds in tomatoes may be cancer fighting.
The American Cancer Society reports non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common types of cancers.