What do we know about prostate cancer and nutrition?

Although nutrition plays a role in the development of prostate cancer no specific diet can prevent or eradicate this disease.

Prostate cancer, like other cancers, is an extremely complex process. No single factor (e.g., diet) can explain the various facets of this disease.

Here is a summary of a recent article.

Be lean — The strongest dietary factor associated with prostate cancer seems to be obesity. Numerous studies have shown that obese men have a greater risk of dying of prostate cancer, developing a more aggressive cancer, and experiencing disease recurrence after surgery or radiation therapy.

The Cancer Prevention Study demonstrated that men with a BMI greater than 32.5kg/m2 were 35% more likely to die of prostate cancer than men whose BMI was less than 25% – 25kg/m2.

IMPORTANT: Overweight men who lose weight seem to reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer.

Don’t eat too much fat — Per-capita fat consumption is highest in males in North America and Western Europe, and rates of prostate-cancer deaths are also highest in these regions. Conversely, the countries in the Pacific Rim have the lowest fat consumption and the lowest death rates.

Whittemore et al studied the relationship of diet, physical activity, and body size of North Americans, North America and found that the only factor that correlated with prostate cancer was the amount of dietary fat. The same was true in Hawaiian men; the highest prevalence of prostate cancer was in men with the highest intake of saturated fat.

Interestingly, the introduction of Western diets in Japan, where the traditional diet is low in fat, has led to an increased incidence of aggressive prostate cancer.

Don’t eat very highly cooked meat — The association between meat consumption and prostate cancer is particularly strong with meats that are cooked at high temperatures and charred, including processed meats such as sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. The ingestion of more than 10g daily of very“well-done meat increased the likelihood of disease by 1.4 times over no consumption.

Omega-3 seems to be protective — The marine omega-3 fatty acids are potent antioxidants that have demonstrated a beneficial effect in the development of prostate cancer.

Tomatoes may be beneficial– A high intake of tomato products (10 or more servings weekly) was associated with a 35% decreased risk of advanced prostate cancer; this was independent of fruit, vegetable, and olive oil intake.

Cruciferous vegetables may be beneficial– Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale have high levels of the anticarcinogenic phytochemicals sulforaphane and indole-3 carbinol.  These nutrients induce the production of antioxidant enzymes that can protect cells from oxidative damage.

It’s better to get food naturally — The general consensus is …

any nutrient that is contained in food is better than an artificial supplement in terms of cancer prevention.

Given that most men with prostate cancer will die from cardiovascular disease in any case, you will massively reduce your risk of cardiovascular death if you follow the dietary recommendations above.

It’s not rocket science!

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