The Tasty Way to Avoid Prostate Cancer

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

June 5, 2023


I like good news. I like to get good news. And I like to give good news. So here goes.

Men, do you like your spaghetti with red sauce? Do you like tomatoes with basil and olive oil? Or how about some red sauce over steak or zucchini? I like it all. And that’s a good thing.

Because all too often it’s the stuff you don’t like that is good for you and the food you like is on the never-ending hit list.

But for men who like red sauce, I have some happy-time information.

Researchers looked at whether eating raw or cooked tomatoes could reduce the risk of prostate cancer. To do that, they searched the international literature and found 17 studies that looked at how the dietary intake of tomatoes might have an effect.

They found out that men who ate higher amounts of cooked and raw tomatoes had about a 20% decreased risk of prostate cancer than those who passed on them. And they also found that the risk of the more aggressive cases of prostate cancer was even less. There was a huge 40% decrease in the tomato groups.

So go for it men. Try to get some tomatoes or red sauce in your diet on a regular basis. And by the way, many people assume that the active principle in tomatoes that has this prostate preserving effect is the nutrient lycopene.

And while that may be true, there may be something else in tomatoes that is having an effect. Because when the researchers looked at blood lycopene levels, they found no difference between the tomato eaters and those who declined.

So the lycopene may help, but there’s something else about tomatoes that protects your prostate. That means you shouldn’t just depend on the supplemental lycopene. Eat red sauce – and plenty of it!


Chen, J., Y. Song, and L. Zhang. “Lycopene/tomato consumption and the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(3):213-23.

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