• Fighting Prostate Cancer: Eat Your Way to Victory

    IMAGE If you could reduce your risk of prostate cancer by adjusting your diet, would you do it? Some researchers believe that certain food choices might lower your chance of developing this form of cancer.

    Isoflavones

    Isoflavones are compounds that are mainly found in soybeans. These compounds are phytoestrogens, which have an effect on the body that is similar to estrogen. Normally, men do not have a lot of estrogen, a female hormone, in their bodies. In order to grow, prostate cells depend on the male hormone testosterone. While much more research needs to be done, isoflavones may offer a protective benefit by increasing the estrogen-like activity in the body and lowering testosterone levels.
    If you are interested in adding isoflavones to your diet, good sources include:
    • Tofu—available in most refrigerated produce or dairy sections of your local supermarket. You can make a healthy shake by blending together ½ cup of tofu with a banana, orange juice, and other fruit.
    • Tempeh (cake of fermented soybeans)—yields 60 mg
    • Soy flour—yields 44 mg
    • Flavored soymilk—yields about 20 mg per serving
    • Roasted soybeans—packs the highest amount of isoflavone per serving—about 167 mg for a 3.5 ounce serving (or 7 tablespoons); these are available at healthfood stores and also online.

    Vegetables

    Lycopene

    Lycopene is part of a group of compounds called carotenoids that are known for their antioxidant properties, which may include the ability to inhibit cancer. Where can you find lycopene? Watermelon and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, but tomato-based foods contain the most. When tomato-based foods are heated and mixed with a small amount of oil, the lycopene absorption is maximized. That makes cooked tomato products excellent sources of lycopene.
    Will eating more tomato products lower your chance of developing prostate cancer? A systematic review of randomized trials found that there was not enough evidence to conclude if lycopene reduced prostate cancer risk. A review of 21 observational studies found that people who ate a lot of cooked tomato products did have fewer cases of prostate cancer. But, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the health claims and found that there is not enough evidence to say that lycopene does reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
    Whether or not lycopene prevents cancer, tomatoes are still an important part of a healthy diet that should include a variety of fruits and vegetables.

    Onions and Garlic

    Onions and garlic are a type of vegetable called allium. These vegetables have been studied for their potential anti-cancer benefits. A study that examined a large amount of data from China found that people who ate a lot of onions and garlic had a reduced risk of prostate cancer, as well as other common types of cancer. Scallions, chives, and leaks are also allium vegetables that you might want to add to your diet.

    Other Popular Foods

    Vitamin E, Vitamin C, selenium, and green tea have also often been advertised and studied for their possible prostate cancer abilities. But, so far there is mixed evidence at best that they can actually help prevent prostate cancer in people. In a large study that involved over 35,000 men, neither vitamin E nor selenium decreased the risk of prostate cancer.

    What Other Changes Can You Make?

    The effects of dietary changes on prostate cancer have not been proven. However, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that you be physically active and maintain a healthy weight to lower your risk of prostate cancer. Also, try to eat at least 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day.

    RESOURCES

    Prostate Cancer Foundation http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/

    National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    References

    Ambrosi G, Klerk N, Fritschi L, Mackerras D, Musk B. Fruit, vegetable, vitamin A intakes, and prostate cancer risk. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 2008;11:61–66.

    Can prostate cancer be prevented? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/overviewguide/prostate-cancer-overview-prevention. Updated December 17, 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    Etminan M, Takkouche B, Caamaño-Isorna F. The role of tomato products and lycopene in the prevention of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2004;13;340.

    Gaziano JM, Glynn RJ, Christen WG, Kurth T, Belanger C, MacFadyen J, Bubes V, Manson JE, Sesso HD, Buring JE. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of prostate and total cancer in men: the Physicians' Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2009 Jan 7;301(1):52-62.

    Green tea. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated July 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    How many men get prostate cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/overviewguide/prostate-cancer-overview-key-statistics . Updated December 17, 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    Hsing AW, Chokkalingam AP, Gao YT, Madigan MP, Deng J, Gridley G, Fraumeni JF Jr. Allium vegetables and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Nov 6;94(21):1648-51.

    Ilic D, Forbes KM, Hassed C. Lycopene for the prevention of prostate cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002 Nov 6;94(21):1648-51.

    Isoflavones. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated July 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    Lycopene. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated July 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 28, 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    Vitamin E. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated July 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.