Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Seventy-two studies show that the people who eat large amounts of 
tomatoes are at reduced risk for developing heart attacks (1) and 
cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, stomach, pancreas, colon, 
esophagus, mouth and cervix (2). That doesn't mean that you should 
eat tomatoes with every meal. 

Countless numbers of plants have been on earth for 3.5 billion years.
Almost all have become extinct. The few that have survived contain 
chemicals that protect them from insects, bacteria, fungi and even 
animals and man. Over the years, men have learned which plants are 
poisonous to man and which are not. However, plants that are 
harmless in average doses can be harmful when eaten all the time. 
So you should eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables for their 
lycopene, but you should not eat one fruit all the time. 

Lycopene prevents cancer by protecting cells from oxidants. It helps 
prevent heart attacks by preventing the bad LDL cholesterol from 
being converted to oxidized LDL that forms plaques in arteries. It's 
antioxidant properties also may help to prevent sunburns. Lycopene 
is found in tomatoes and other brightly colored vegetables, such as 
watermelon and red grapefruits, but it is absorbed in greater 
quantities from cooked tomatoes, rather than from fresh ones. The 
best sources are tomato paste and sauce, and ketchup. 

1) Lenore Kohlmeier et al. University of North Carolina at Chapel 
Hill. American Journal of Epidemiology October, 1997. 

2) Giovanucci E et al. J of the National Cancer Institute February, 

Checked 7/31/07