"The amount of lycopene in the diet of the women who consumed lycopene at the highest level in the study would be equal to eating four tomatoes daily," study researcher Won Jin Ho, a medical resident at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, was quoted as saying in a Live Science report.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that also gives tomato, watermelon, grapefruit and papaya its reddish colour. In the new study, the researchers looked at nearly 92,000 post-menopausal women.
The amount of micronutrients including lycopene in the women's diets was estimated from the information they provided on questionnaires when they enrolled in the study.
During the study period, 383 women were diagnosed with kidney cancer. The results showed that only lycopene was associated with a lower kidney cancer risk.
Women who consumed the highest amount of lycopene had a 45 percent lower risk of kidney cancer compared with those who ate the lowest amount, the study noted."It is likely that the women received lycopene not just from tomatoes but also from tomato sauces and other fruits that contain lycopene," Ho said.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology in Chicago recently.