Lycopene has been known to kill prostate cancer cells. Now a study by Wayne State University Division of Research proves that higher intake of lycopene by postmenopausal women may lower the risk of renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. Lycopene is found in foods like tomatoes, watermelon, pomegranate, pink guava, apricots and papaya. The results are explained in “Antioxidant micronutrients and the risk of renal cell carcinoma in the Women’s Health Initiative cohort,” featured in the Feb. 15, 2015 issue of Cancer.
Lycopene from food sources has also been associated with decreased risk of breast and prostate cancers, and a diet high in vegetables and fruits are generally well-accepted for promoting good health. This study included a broader population, including both men and women, and with greater representation of African-Americans, and therefore may help describe the associations in populations beyond post-menopausal women who can also benefit from higher intake of lycopene. One cup (240 mL) of tomato juice provides about 23 mg of lycopene. Processing raw tomatoes using heat (in the making of tomato juice, tomato paste or ketchup, for example) actually changes the lycopene in the raw product into a form that is easier for the body to use. The lycopene in supplements is about as easy for the body to use as lycopene found in food.