Including more tomatoes to the diet can help lower risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, a new study says.Annie Mueller/Flickr

Including more tomatoes io the diet can help lower risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, a new study says.

Many factors associated with menopause have long been known to increase the risk of cancer in women. Ageing, hormone therapy, and weight gain after menopause are some of them.

The study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that eating tomatoes directly had a positive impact on the levels of hormones that regulate fat and sugar metabolism.

Nearly 70 postmenopausal women participated in the study and followed a tomato-rich diet (foods with 25 milligrams of natural chemical lycopene) in the first 10 weeks and switched to a soy-rich diet (40 grams) in the next 10 weeks.

Interestingly, the researchers found that the tomato rich diet helped elevate levels of hormone that regulates blood sugar and fat levels, known as adiponectin by nine percent. Women with lower body mass index benefitted the most from the tomato diet compared to obese women.

"The findings demonstrate the importance of obesity prevention," first author of the study, Dr Adana Llanos, from the Rutgers University in the US, said in a news release. "Consuming a diet rich in tomatoes had a larger impact on hormone levels in women who maintained a healthy weight."

Researchers hoped that their findings will help prevent the deadly disease and save millions of lives. "The advantages of eating plenty of tomatoes and tomato-based products, even for a short period, were clearly evident in our findings," Dr Llanos, said. "Eating fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as lycopene, conveys significant benefits. Based on this data, we believe regular consumption of at least the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables would promote breast cancer prevention in an at-risk population."