If you are have healthy estrogen levels or are in early menopause or premenopause, then you should quickly make lycopene your close and personal friend. A fascinating study from the International Journal of Cancer found that high carotene intake, especially a diet high in lycopene, significantly reduced the risk of ovarian cancer in premenopausal women. Investigators suggested that consumption of fruits, vegetables, and food items high in carotene and lycopene, particularly raw carrots and tomato sauce, may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
To reap these benefits, aim for 10 servings of cooked tomatoes or tomato products every week. Just be sure to mix the tomatoes in an oil base, such as olive oil, to enhance lycopene absorption.
If you do not want to eat this much tomato-based food, or you simply dislike their taste, then lycopene supplements are a good alternative. Dr. Lark recommends taking 510 mg per day. Lycopene is available in most health food stores.
Unfortunately, lycopene does not confer the same protection against ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women that it does in younger women. Luckily, foods high in alpha-carotene and alpha-carotene supplements have been found to significantly reduce the risk of the disease in postmenopausal women.
And, animal studies have shown alpha-carotene is 10 times more effective than beta-carotene in suppressing lung, liver, and skin cancer, while other research has found that the nutrient is 38 percent stronger in antioxidant activity than beta-carotene.
Foods highest in alpha-carotene are carrots, corn, squash, watermelons, green peppers, potatoes, apples, peaches, and leafy green vegetables. If you prefer a supplement, Dr. Lark suggests taking 25,000 IU of mixed carotenoids that contain a blend of both alpha- and beta-carotene.