Tomato has many therapeutic applications, but in what way can it affect a man’s health? Tomato as a great antioxidant, is probably the richest source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that has been documented to have protective property against prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men in the United States.
Tomato is the most consumed vegetable in the US. Even if it has to come second, then it’s only after potato. People love eating tomatoes in salads, or more commonly as tomato sauce. Also, their juice is becoming very popular these days, due to the therapeutic applications it possess.
Now, let’s look at how lycopene can affect a man’s sexual health with supporting scientific researches:
- Lycopene supplementation in vitro can protect human sperm deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from oxidative damage (1).
- Oral lycopene supplementation in idiopathic male has been found to boost sperm concentration, increase its motility, and improve its morphology (2).
- Antioxidants like lycopene, have been found to play an important role in protecting semen from reactive oxygen species and can improve basic sperm parameters in case of idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (3). oligoasthenoteratozoospermia or OAT is used to describe a semen with low number of sperm with poor motility as well.
Are tomatoes bad for men?
Directly to the point, tomatoes have been found to prevent or reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. This of course shows that they are not bad for men, instead they possess even more properties that can boost the overall sexual function and well-being of a man.
If you are unaware, prostate cancer is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths annually in the US. In fact, it is the third most common cancer in the US (4). According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in every 9 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. This is a very scary fact, and shows the extent of the risk for this type of cancer in men.
Since tomato consumption has been found to prevent this type of cancer, including this vegetable in your diet is more beneficial than ever. Prostate cancer can affect a man of any age, but is more common in elderly ones, with the average age for people diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US put at 66 years. Due to this risk, it’s important for men to become very conscious about eating a healthy diet rich in tomatoes as a way to minimize the risk for this disease.
According to a research carried out by Harvard University, people who consumed 10 or more tomato-based products weekly in their diets, showed a reduced risk for prostate cancer by as much as 34%. Tomato’s prostate cancer prevention has all been attributed to its lycopene content, a red carotenoid that gives tomato its color.
Below is a recap on what I have discussed so far and even more.
Benefits of tomato for men’s health
- Tomato consumption prevents or reduces the risk for prostate cancer
- It can boost sperm count or concentration, and also improve its motility.
- It can protect human sperm cell DNA from oxidative damage.
- It can improve blood flow and supply to the male sexual organ, which in turn supports a healthy erection.
Now, since we know what’s responsible for the cancer-preventive property of tomato and many other benefits, what’s left for us is to find ways to increase our intake of this wonderful antioxidant, lycopene. Besides, tomato is not the only rich source of lycopene, foods like grapefruit, guava, sweet red pepper, and asparagus are also wonderful sources of this antioxidant.
To increase your lycopene intake through tomatoes, the tips below might be found helpful:
- Focus on the intake of organic tomatoes rather than normal ones. This is because organic tomatoes have been found to contain 3-times as much lycopene as non-organic ones (5).
- Try as much as possible to increase your intake of tomato-based foods or products. Tomato sauce is a very popular preparation that you can use to successfully include tomato in your diet. I personally eat tomato sauce in about 4 or more days in a week -that’s over 500 grams in consumption with a lycopene value of over 10000 μg.
- You should also eat only red tomatoes, as they contain more amounts of lycopene.