The study suggests regularly eating the world famous food may help stave off certain forms of cancer, says La Repubblica.
Dr Silvano Gallus of the Pharmacology Institute in Milan studied the eating habits of over 3,000 Italians suffering from stomach or digestive tract cancer and compared results to a sample of nearly 5,000 others suffering from other diseases.
The results showed people who ate pizza once or several times a week were less likely to get cancer than those who chose not to eat it at all.
Gallus concluded the risks of getting mouth, throat or colon cancer plunged by as much as 34 percent, 59 percent and 26 percent respectively.
“We knew that tomato sauce could offer protection against certain tumours, but we did not expect pizza as a complete meal also to offer such protective powers,” he said.
Not an excuse
The secret, according to senior researcher Gallus, appeared to be connected to the preventive properties of the humble tomato and not the pizza itself.
Although the study may be welcomed with open arms by Milan’s restauranteurs, the sad truth for those wanting to justify over-indulgence is that they would be better off justing eating tomatoes.
Milan-based epidemiologist Carlo La Vecchia warns: “There is nothing to indicate that pizza is the only thing responsible for these results,” he said.
La Vecchia said the health benefits of the tomato, which is rich in anti-oxidants, have long been known.
“Pizza could simply be indicative of a lifestyle and food habits, in other words the Italian version of a Mediterranean diet,” he said.
Mediterranean food is traditionally rich in olive oil, fibre, vegetables, fruit, flour and freshly cooked food, including non-frozen, home-made pizza.