Fight Breast Cancer With Tomatoes

Medically reviewed in January 2021

Here's another good reason to add some tomato to your next salad or pile some extra sauce on your plate of spaghetti: Doing so may actually help lower your breast cancer risk by keeping your weight down. 

In an experiment by researchers from Rutgers and Ohio State Universities, women who ate a tomato-rich diet had increased levels of a hormone called adiponectin, which helps the body regulate fat and blood sugar. Adiponectin previously has been shown to lower breast cancer risk, likely by protecting against obesity and insulin resistance. Being overweight is a risk factor for breast cancer. The researchers think lycopene, the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color, and other nutrients in tomatoes pump up adiponectin levels. 

So: Eating more tomatoes keeps your weight down, which then helps ward off breast cancer. That's a win-win. 

But that’s not all. Lycopene also appears to protect against heart disease, age-related eye problems and several other kinds of cancer. 

More Foods that Fight Breast Cancer
Not a fan of tomatoes? No problem! There are plenty of other foods that have been found to help reduce breast cancer risk.

  • Carrots: In a study of African Americans women, those who munched on carrots at least three times a week enjoyed a 17% lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Mushrooms: In one study, women who ate at least 10 g of fresh mushrooms a day (the equivalent of one small mushroom) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer.
  • Peanut butter: Eating two servings of peanut butter a week as a girl decreases the risk of developing benign breast disease in adulthood, according to a study from Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Green tea: Three cups of green tea a day can help lower risk by as much as 50% thanks to its high EGCG antioxidant content.
  • Dietary fiber: Researchers found that women on high-fiber diets were 11% less likely to develop breast cancer than those with the least. 

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