Research: WEISBURGER, American H

Listed in Issue 36


WEISBURGER, American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595-1599, USA. writes that over the past 30 years, research investigating nutrition and chronic diseases cardiovascular disease and nutritionally linked cancers, including stomach, colon, breast, prostate, ovarian and endometrial has enabled significant progress in understanding specific risk factors and chemopreventive agents .




The major elemental factors looked at were salt, fat, and heterocyclic amines formed during cooking. Fibre from bran cereal, as well as vegetables, fruits and tea have been shown to inhibit the complex processes of initiation and development of these diseases. A major aspect involved in the initiation and development of both cardiovascular diseases and cancers are abnormal oxidative processes leading to hydroxyl radical and peroxy compound formation. The protective role of vegetables, fruits and tea is, in part, to provide antioxidant vitamins and specific polyphenols which inhibit oxidative reactions, as evidenced by epidemiological studies and laboratory experimentation. Populations with a regular intake of tomato products, such as in the Mediterranean, have a lower incidence of these chronic diseases. The varied mechanisms of action of tomato products in general and one of the active ingredients, lycopene, is being considered by the current Symposium. Cooking helps to release the desirable antioxidants from tomatoes, and cooked tomato products may be preferable to raw vegetable or tomato juices. Absorption of lycopene, a highly lipid-soluble chemical, is improved in the presence of a small but essential amount of oil or fat, such as monounsaturated oils including olive or canola. The International Symposium on tea conducted in 1991 provided worldwide interest in research regarding the beneficial effects of tea and it is now hoped that the present Symposium, dealing with tomatoes, will enhance interest in and provide funding for enhanced production and the use of tomato-derived nutritional elements.



Weisburger JH. Evaluation of the evidence on the role of tomato products in disease prevention. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 218(2): 140-3. June 1998.

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