The World's Healthiest Foods

Phytonutrients in Whole Tomato More Effective Vs. Cancer than Lycopene Alone

New research conducted by Dr. Joseph Levy and Dr. Yoav Sharoni of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center in Be¡¯er Sheva, Israel, offers more proof that the combination of all the phytonutrients found in tomato is more effective in treating breast cancer than lycopene alone. This new research follows on the heels and parallels the results of their earlier research on human prostate cancer cells.

Practical Tips

Here are a few of the many ideas on the World¡¯s Healthiest Foods to help you enjoy tomatoes more often as part of your healthy way of eating:

  • Making homemade spaghetti sauce is as simple as healthy saut¨¦ing some garlic in olive oil, adding chopped tomatoes, oregano, basil and any other herbs and spices you like, and simmering for ten to fifteen minutes. The longer you simmer, the richer and deeper the flavor will be.
  • Tomatoes are a great addition to bean and vegetable soups.
  • Enjoy a classic Italian salad ¨C sliced onions, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil.
  • Combine chopped onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers for an easy to make salsa dip.

To learn more about the tomato, truly one of the World¡¯s Healthiest Foods, simply click tomato. For some exceptionally quick, easy and delicious recipes featuring tomatoes, click on the Recipe Assistant, select tomato from the healthy foods list, and click on the Submit button. A list containing links to all the World's Healthiest Foods' recipes containing tomatoes will appear immediately below.

Research Summary

In these in vitro (test tube) experiments, Drs. Levy and Sharoni incubated MCF-7 human breast cancer cells with a combination of low concentrations of the tomato carotenoids phytoene, phytofluene and lycopene. The low concentrations they used reflect the blood concentrations normally found in Europeans or Americans who regularly consume several servings of tomato products each week. The cancer cell proliferation decreased dramatically in the breast cancer cell sample treated with this complex of tomato phytonutrients.

Moreover, Drs. Levy and Sharoni found that breast cancer cells that were treated with the same low concentration 0.3¦ÌM/liter of lycopene alone showed no significant decrease in proliferation. The same dramatic inhibition of cancer cells achieved by the combination of tomato phytonutrients could be obtained when using lycopene alone, but only in very high concentrations of 2¦ÌM/liter¡ª blood concentrations of lycopene that are not found in humans. The researchers therefore believe that high supplemental therapeutic doses of lycopene alone will not provide practical benefit to cancer patients.

The research of Dr. Levy and Sharoni suggests that the therapeutic benefits of the tomato come from Mother Nature¡¯s complex synergy of tomato phytonutrients and not from any one phytonutrient in isolation. Their experiments, presented by Dr. Levy presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference, held October 14-18, 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts, will soon be published in an AACR journal.

Reference: Paper presented at the first annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research: October 14-18,2002, Boston, Mass.

This page was updated on: 2002-11-25 02:53:48
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation