Coked tomatoes can slowed your cancer risk'

A nutrient in cooked tomatoes has been shown in laboratory studies to slow the growth of - and even kill - prostate cancer cells, according to scientists.

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They found that lycopene, which is what gives tomatoes their red colour, intercepts cancer's ability to make the connections it needs to attach to a healthy blood supply.

This simple chemical reaction was shown to occur at lycopene concentrations that can easily be achieved by eating processed tomatoes.

Lycopene is present in all red fruits and vegetables, but its concentrations are highest in tomatoes and it becomes more readily available and biologically active when it comes from processed tomatoes with a small amount of cooking oil added.

This allows the cancer cells to reach out and attach to the blood supply.

In the laboratory experiments, lycopene was shown to disrupt this linking process, without which cancer cells cannot grow.

The researchers explained that all cancer cells use a similar mechanism to "feed" upon a healthy blood supply.

The important thing is for sufficient lycopene to reach where it can matter. We know that in case of prostate tissues it gets there.

The type of tomatoes which offer the most effective lycopene also differs and more tests need to be done to find the best breed of tomato for this purpose.

It was suggested in their previous research that smokers might have to consume more tomatoes than non-smokers to achieve the benefits of lycopene due to the presence of high oxidative stress in smokers.

Some existing cancer drugs target the formation of new blood vessels, but more research is needed to show how they could be used to help cancer patients.

This small study doesn't directly tell us if lycopene has any effect against cancer, but research like this can help us to understand more about how the chemical affects blood vessel formation.