Summer Stars: Watermelon and Tomatoes

While you can still get really fresh summer fruits and vegetables before the fall begins, be sure to eat cancer fighting “reds”, watermelon and tomatoes. Besides being delicious, they can help to fight breast cancer!


Watermelons are nutrition packed as they are a good source of vitamins A and C, carotinoids (lycopene, lutein, B-carotene, cucurbitacins, and others), fiber, and potassium. Cucurbitacins have been shown to induce in human breast cancer cells cell cycle arrest and apoptosis (programmed cell death).


Watermelons contain more than 90% water, making it a low calorie fruit that also helps you to stay hydrated. One cup of diced watermelon contains only 46 calories.


Tomatoes are also good sources of vitamins A and C, as well as carotinoids (including lycopenes and B-carotene), fiber, and potassium.


Tomatoes are also a very low calorie food (32 calories per cup of diced tomatoes). Tomatoes are well known to help lower risk of prostate cancer due to lycopene, but have also been found in studies to reduce risk of breast cancer, as well as cancer of the mouth, lung, stomach, pancreas, prostate, colon, ovary, and endometrium.


Lycopene is a phytochemical and an antioxidant that provides watermelons and red tomatoes with their red coloring. Tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato soup, and tomato juice are concentrated sources of lycopenes and have increased bioavailability. Cherry tomatoes are the highest in lycopenes and total antioxidant content of all tomatoes, but lycopene from processed and cooked tomatoes has a higher rate of absorption.


Several studies have shown that intake of dietary carotinoids, including lycopene, to reduce risk of ER?? breast cancer. Another phytochemical in tomatoes (naringenin) has also been found to inhibit ER breast cancer cell growth and migration.


Increased blood levels of carotinoids are associated with both reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and risk of a new primary tumor.


Note: Be sure to carefully wash watermelons and tomatoes to remove any pesticide residues.


For references to studies:

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