It is likely that the standard Western diet and lifestyle are adding to increased prostate cancer risks, as this lifestyle is recognized to fuel overall illness.
But there are numerous preventative measures one can take to lower the risk, with one new study finding that eating just one type of food every week can significantly reduce prostate cancer risks.
This is the first study of its kind to develop a dietary index meant to measure dietary components which might reduce prostate cancer. These included foods rich in selenium, calcium, and lycopene, for example.
Tomatoes in particular, which are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetables a vibrant red color, has been shown to improve blood vessel function in cardiovascular disease patients.
It is also an effective treatment for high cholesterol. But wait, there’s more. It turns out that it also fights off toxins that can damage DNA and cells, lowering prostate cancer risks.
According to the studies of Vanessa Er, a lead researcher from the University of Bristol in the UK, and her team which included researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, men who ate over 10 portions of tomatoes and tomato products, such as tomato juice and baked beans, had an 18% reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.
The researchers studied 1,806 men with prostate cancer who were between the ages of 50-69, and compared these with 12,005 men without cancer.
They found that:
“. . . tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention. However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials. Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active.”
The scientists warn about the ways that men consume tomato products, though.
Although lycopene is more available in tomato products as a result of food processing and preparation, men should not overconsume industrialized pizza, tomato sauce, canned beans, and so on due to the high levels of salt, sugar, and fat in these products.
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As part of their study, the researchers also assessed the cancer-prevention recommendations on physical activity, diet and body weight from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
They found that only the recommendation to have a high intake of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber, was associated with a reduced prostate cancer risk.
However, these recommendations are not targeted at prostate cancer prevention, so the researchers say following these guidelines is not sufficient to avoid cancer, and that further dietary instructions should be introduced.
The new study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Needless to say, this isn’t the only natural way to prevent prostate cancer (as well as other cancers). Drinking black tea can reduce prostate cancer risk by up to 1/3, and eating carrots can reduce risk by 1/5.