Eight Prostate Power Foods
Ultimate nutrition for prostate cancer prevention
Focused on Health - September 2009
By Rachel Winters
Ileana Djujic contributed to this article.
It is no secret that eating healthy is key to reducing your chances for cancer. Doctors and nutritionists have recommended chowing down on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein and fiber for quite some time. But how exactly do all of these food groups help reduce prostate cancer risks, and why is reducing your prostate cancer risks so important?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and a major cause of death in American men, second only to lung cancer, says the American Cancer Society. One out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. The American Cancer Society expects this number to grow in 2010.
Knowing what foods have the power to lower your chances of getting prostate cancer is essential. Let’s review what the latest research says about certain tasty and healthy foods that may have what it takes to prevent prostate cancer. Who knows? They might just be your favorite.
1. Tomatoes block chemicals that damage cells.
These fruits (yes, fruits!) contain an extremely high amount of lycopene. Lycopene is a natural chemical found in plants. This chemical is a powerful antioxidant known for its potential to decrease prostate, lung and stomach cancer risks. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, lycopene helps to fight cell damage that could possibly lead to prostate cancer.
2. Soy has good cancer-fighting hormones.
Soybean products are famous for fighting prostate cancer, as well as breast, colon and lung cancers. Soy is a good source of isoflavones, which are plant estrogens. Because isoflavones contain estrogen, they lower testosterone levels that lead to prostate cancer. American Cancer Society studies show that men with prostate cancer who eat soy have lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. High PSA levels can be a sign of cancer. Soy products also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which help reduce your risks of heart disease.
3. Beans have lots of antioxidants.
Like soy, beans are a good source of protein, making them a healthy alternative to red meat. Beans also are an excellent source of flavonols, which are a type of antioxidant found in various plants. Flavonols help red blood cells remove free radicals (unstable molecules) from the body. Beans also contain a lot of antioxidants and fiber, which have cancer-fighting properties, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Any kind of bean is a good choice, including black, pinto and kidney. Put them in your favorite soup, stew or salad.
4. Watermelon rids the body of substances that cause cancer.
Not a fan of tomatoes? Watermelon, as well as guava, grapefruit and other red/pink fruits, are another important source of lycopene, says the American Institute for Cancer Research. They contain lots of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which help your body get rid of harmful cells that can lead to cancer. In addition, watermelon is a fat-free food that is sweet enough to eat for dessert.
5. Broccoli is a constant star on health food lists.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, are recognized by the American Cancer Society for their cancer-fighting abilities. Broccoli constantly lands a starring roll on “top 10” health food lists. It is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, calcium and folate. It boosts the immune system and helps the body fight prostate cancer. Broccoli also contains phytochemicals, plant chemicals that have anti-cancer properties similar to lycopene.
6. Sweet potatoes are a powerful source of the cancer-fighting vitamin A.
Sweet potatoes have an extremely high amount of beta-carotene and a variety of phytochemicals. As one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, they also are a powerful source of vitamin A. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties that reduce cancer-causing chemicals in the body. By reducing these chemicals, this vitamin helps to prevent cell damage that can lead to prostate cancer. In fact, research from the American Cancer Society says that one medium sweet potato provides 520% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also strengthen the immune system.
7. Garlic repairs DNA.
Garlic is the one of the toughest foods around when it comes to fighting prostate cancer. It has antibacterial properties that block cancer cells from forming. Garlic also helps repair DNA, which slows the growth of cancer cells. A recent study from the National Cancer Institute shows that eating more than 10 grams of garlic every day reduces your chances of prostate cancer by about 50%.
8. Green tea kills cancer cells.
Green tea may help prevent prostate cancer by either stopping damaged cells from multiplying or killing them completely. Green tea has EGCG, the most studied antioxidant that fights the abnormal cells that may lead to cancer. Research at M. D. Anderson has shown that drinking green tea protects you against prostate, bladder, stomach and esophageal cancer.
Eating right is essential
Want to give all eight of these power foods an extra boost? Learn how adding flaxseed can give them more fighting power, and get ideas on how to add this plant-based food into everyday recipes.
With these items on your shopping list, you’re armed and dangerous when it comes to fighting prostate cancer.
Green Tea (M. D. Anderson)