Prostate Cancer Survivors Should Include Dietary Lycopene

By Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Wendy Kaplan

Did you know that the phytochemical lycopene may be helpful to include in the diets of those with prostate cancer? Lycopene has antioxidant activity and helps your body fight damaging free radicals, which is associated with decreased risk for some cancers, including prostate cancer.  

Although there is no specific recommendation, the general recommendation is to include lycopene (from food) daily. Lycopene is the main pigment in red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, watermelon, and guava. 

The tomato is also a nutritional powerhouse. It’s packed with vitamins C, A, and K. When tomatoes are heated or processed (canned, marinara, salsa), the cell walls of the tomato are broken down, allowing the lycopene to be more available for your body to absorb. In other words, it becomes even more nutritious and a more powerful cancer fighter. 

When consuming lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables, consume heart-healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, or nuts. The fat from these sources will further the absorption potential of the lycopene and the vitamins—it’s a great justification for enjoying pizza, chips, and salsa!


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