Nutrition and Cancer: Which foods help ward off prostate cancer? 08/17/2012
SUE BUDDS, APN EDWARD CANCER CENTER
I know there are certain foods that can help prevent cancer. Can you shed some light on which foods I should consume to help ward off prostate cancer?
As your body’s natural defense system tries to prevent normal cells from becoming cancerous ones, your diet and environmental surroundings can have significant influences on how poorly or how well it functions.
“With 1 in 6 men predicted to develop prostate cancer in his lifetime, a prevention breakthrough as simple as diet change may mean profound advantages for men,” said Sue Budds, APN, nurse navigator for the Genito-Urinary Multidisciplinary Clinic at the Edward Cancer Center.
Foods of the future
Many studies over recent decades, notably the Physicians’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, presented results associating prevention and progression of prostate cancer with certain nutrients and foods.
Below are some that have researchers’ attention:
Lycopene: Commonly found in tomatoes, this powerful antioxidant protects the body against cancer by reducing the negative effects of free radicals. As little as two servings of tomato sauce per week can lower prostate cancer risk by up to 28 % and lower its advancement by up to 35 %.
Sulforaphane: Sulforaphane is a compound found in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage that helps repair damage to cells caused by cancer-causing substances. While there’s no connection between sulforaphane and preventing the progression of prostate cancer, one study showed that men who ate more than five or more servings of such vegetables per week had up to 20 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Polyphenols and isoflavones: You’ve probably run across a news story relating the benefits of polyphenols like green tea or red wine, or isoflavones such as soy-based foods. While many laboratory studies have confirmed their ability to interrupt the growth of cancerous cells, the results of human clinical studies are still up in the air.
“Incorporating the above nutrients into your diet doesn’t magically make prostate cancer disappear and time is still needed to put this all in perspective,” explains Sue. “However, there is growing evidence suggesting a few nutritional changes can go a long way with prostate cancer,” she says.