June 16


This Is What You Should Give Dad For Father’s Day!


by Corinne Dobbas, RD

We all want our Dads to be healthy.

Part of this healthy living equation is protecting him from prostate cancer.

And you know what an awesome prostate protector is?

If you guessed tomatoes, you’re dead on.

Really, it’s the antioxidant lycopene, especially found in cooked tomato products, that’s associated with a reduced risk in prostate cancer.

Ironically, these cooked “processed” tomatoes, like salsa, tomato paste, marinara sauce, and roasted tomatoes have more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

Processed Tomatoes?

In a world where the mantra “no processed food” shines like a five-carat diamond on a gal’s ring finger, for the tomato, we think it’s the other way around. Processed may be better.

They’ve got more lycopene.

Keep in mind, “processed” tomato products are really just cooked tomatoes.

Think about it—salsa and marinara sauce equate to chopped tomatoes with added veggies and spices, and cooked tomatoes with added seasoning, respectively.  Not much else.

In other words, “processed” tomatoes are not your typical sugar-filled, fattening foods that come to mind when you think “processed.”

The Science is There

To bolster tomato power, a recent study found lycopene to have multiple anticancer and antioxidant effects on human prostate cells.

Better yet, cells treated with lycopene had increased levels of enzymes that protect against toxic effects of cancer-causing compounds.

And who doesn’t want that?

Can you say, “Pass the tomato sauce!?”

Dish it Up!

This Father’s Day (in fact, every day), we encourage you to dish-up Dad tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara sauce, roasted tomatoes, and the list goes on!

Basically, find fun creative ways to pack in more tomato protects to help protect against prostate cancer, like adding tomato paste to marinara sauce for extra thickness, topping grilled chicken with marinara sauce, or adding fire-roasted tomatoes to stir-fry dishes.

Now that you know what to do, some things we urge you NOT to do:

  • Give Dad a big tomato-finger-covered hug, after stirring your marinara sauce, dropping the spoon in the sauce, and getting your fingers all covered in red (by mistake)!
  • Serve Dad a marinara covered pasta dish while he’s wearing a white shirt.
  • Urge your parents to reenact A Lady and the Tramp spaghetti moment—someone for sure is getting covered in noodles…
  • Have your kids cover pizza dough in red sauce for Grandpa, with their hands, and walk over to sit on your white couch afterwards!
  • Dish-up extra spicy salsa, without Dad knowing, when he hates spicy foods—to the point where an allergic-type reaction forms!

Happy Father’s Day!

Have you had a fun tomato story? Please share!

By healthy living expert and registered dietitian, Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD