A Tomato a Day ... May Help Keep Cancer Away
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Dr. William Hyman, an oncologist with Texas Oncology-Tyler, shared a good reason for everyone to compete in the annual tomato-eating contest Saturday at the Tomato Fest.
“Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene,” Hyman said. “Lycopenes act as an antioxidant, which helps prevent cancer.”
Hyman said while fresh tomatoes are good; cooked tomatoes in most forms are even better.
“For some reason, the cooking process really makes a tomato’s lycopene content more concentrated,” Hyman said. “For most other fruits and vegetables, the exact opposite is true.”
Officials have suggested five servings of cooked tomatoes a week can go a long way in preventing cancer.
“But it’s only a preventative measure,” Hyman said. “Eating tomatoes isn’t going to help people who already have cancer much.”
And preventing cancer is something that should stay on everyone’s mind, especially during the summer.
Hyman said the summer months are the perfect time to start easing into a more healthy lifestyle.
“The weather’s usually nice, so it’s easier to get out and exercise,” he explained. “People are doing more in general as they go on vacations, work and play outdoors more and eat lighter, since temperatures are rising.
“Those choices — exercising and eating less fat, salt and red meat — go a long way to protecting a person’s overall health, as well as help lower their chances of getting cancer.”
Be aware, though. More time outside in the summer means increased exposure to harmful UV rays.
“Skin cancer is always a factor when you spend lots of time in the sun,” Hyman said. “Sunscreen is great, but no matter what the bottle says, it must be reapplied continually. It may be waterproof, but it can still be wiped off when you dry off after a swim or when you sweat.”
Hyman said as uncomfortable or unfashionable as it sounds, long sleeves and pants and big, big hats are the ways to dress when spending extended time in the sun.
“The bigger the hat, the better the protection,” Hyman said. “It may not make the greatest fashion statement, but it will protect your ears and neck from sunburn.
“Light-weight, light-colored long sleeves and pants are also the best way to protect arms and legs, and can even help deflect bugs, too,” he said.