Pasta, Pizza And The Prostate

Want to protect yourself from prostate cancer? Don't forget to eat plenty of pizza and spaghetti, smothered in red sauce. In a six-year study involving 48,000 doctors, dentists and other health professionals, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that men who eat tomato-rich foods at least four times a week cut their risk by 20 percent--and that those eating 10 servings a week cut their risk by nearly half. Fresh, uncooked tomatoes were moderately helpful, the researchers report in the Dec. 6 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, but tomato sauce offered the best protection of all.

What could explain such a phenomenon? The Harvard researchers, led by Dr. Edward Giovannucci, credit lycopene, an antioxidant closely related to beta carotene. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, and cooking apparently helps release it from the fruit's cells. Imagine the promotional possibilities: "Prego: your prostate's best friend."