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The Role of Nutrition in Preventing Prostrate Cancer

Sep 1, 2008
Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that nutrition plays an essential role in preventing prostrate cancer in men. So what men eat and drink or don't eat and drink can significantly lower their risk of developing this disease.

For beverages, green tea contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols that fight against a group of cancers including prostrate.
Two to four cups of this beverage a day has been recommended and men at high risk should consider an extract.

The International Journal for Cancer Research in January 2005 reported that a study of 1,456 middle aged men concluded that those who were drinking four or more glasses of red wine a week reduced their risk of prostrate cancer by 48%.

Another study demonstrated that drinking two glasses of pomegranate juice daily was beneficial. However, this was a small study but additional studies are in progress. Like green tea, pomegranate juice is also high in polyphenols.

The recommended foods are, first of all tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that combats malignancy.

What is nice about lycopene is that cooking improves the concentration so one does not have to be concerned about finding fresh tomatoes, as is the case with other beneficial fruits and vegetables. You get the maximum benefit from tomato sauce, ketchup and cooked tomatoes.

Lycopene is better absorbed if accompanied by a little fat. So one should add some monosaturated fat such as olive oil to tomato sauce. Mixed with spaghetti it makes for a healthful and tasty meal.

It is recommended that cruciferous vegetables, which are high in such cancer fighting agents as indoles and sulforaphane, be consumed frequently. Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, brussel sprouts, collards and kale. And men who eat six servings of vegetables a day are less likely to develop an enlarged prostrate.

Soy foods are also important in the diet, as they are a rich food source of isoflavones, which are supposed to help balance hormone levels.

And oily fish have been found to reduce inflammation and protect against metastases.

Men who do not care for wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring or black cod can take a fish oil supplement amounting to 1 to 2 grams a day. It is important to choose wild salmon has farmed fish do not offer the same protection.

People who love chili peppers will be pleased to learn that the capsaicin which is responsible for the hot taste is believed to destroy cancer cells. However, the research study for the benefits of capsaicin was performed with mice, not with humans.

Flaxseed, which contains lignans, is believed to protect against all hormone driven cancers including breast, ovarian and prostrate. A study conducted with prostrate cancer patients concluded that daily ingestion of flaxseed together with a low fat diet actually slowed malignant growth between diagnosis and surgery.

There may also be an age connection between prostrate cancer and diet. A Harvard study suggests that prostrate cancer in younger men is hormone driven while inflammation is the main culprit with older men. Thus the foods that help normalize hormone levels such as soy products and flaxseed may be more helpful to younger men and those that combat inflammation such as lycopene may be more useful in the diets of older men.

Admittedly more research needs to be done, however none of these foods and beverages are harmful to the body, and the fact that they could be helpful certainly make them smart nutritional choices.
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