Choosing to regularly eat lycopene-rich fruits, such as watermelon — and drink green tea — could greatly reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. At least this is what a study published in the “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” concludes.
Watermelon is truly a healing food that is packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.
Pink watermelon is also a good source of the potent carotenoid, lycopene — an antioxidant that you may know is found in tomatoes. These powerful antioxidants are great for neutralizing free radicals in your body. Free radicals are those substances that can cause a great deal of damage.
They are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to your blood vessel walls, where it can lead to heart attack or stroke. They can even increase the inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and cause most of the joint damage that happens in these conditions.
Fortunately, the vitamin C and beta-carotene in watermelons are very good at getting rid of these harmful molecules and could help prevent this damage.
Now back to the study: a research team recruited 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospital controls. The researchers looked at green tea consumption and found that men drinking the most green tea had an 86% reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to those drinking the least.
A similar inverse association was found between the men’s consumption of lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and watermelon. Men who most frequently ate these foods were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer compared to those consuming the least lycopene-rich foods.
It seems that adding both green tea and foods rich in lycopene to your diet could result in a synergistic protective effect — meaning that both together could protect you more strongly than either on its own. To take full advantage of this alternative cure, try getting into the habit of drinking green tea along with lycopene-rich foods such as watermelon to give your good health an extra boost.
No other fruit says summer quite like a thirst-quenching piece of watermelon — so go ahead and have a piece!
One bit of health advice: although watermelons can now be found in grocery stores throughout the year, the season for watermelon is in the summer when you can buy locally and the melons are sweet and full of antioxidants.