Italian researchers claim that eating more pizza can reduce the risk of certain cancers. They believe that the antioxidant lycopene found in tomato sauce is likely the reason.
Researchers compared pizza consumption by 3,000 people with certain cancers to 5,000 people without cancer. Of those 5,000 non-cancer subjects they found that they consumed pizza once a week.
“We knew that tomato sauce could offer protection against certain tumors, but we did not expect pizza as a complete meal also to offer such protective powers,” said Dr. Silvano Gallus of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Milan, who led the research.
Lycopene can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer by 59 percent. People who eat more pizza can reduce colon cancer risk by 26 percent and mouth cancer by 34 percent, the study found.
However, scientists warned that eating pizza is not a cancer cure and that a healthy lifestyle is key.
"This study is interesting and the results should probably be looked at in the context of what we already know about the Mediterranean diet and it's association with a lower risk of certain types of cancer,” Nicola O'Connor, of Cancer Research UK, told BBC. "But before people start dialling the pizza takeaway, they should consider that pizza can be high in saturated fat, salt and calories."