The role of diet in preventing prostate cancer. Cancer of the prostate mainly affects older men. There are evidences showing that there is a genetic predisposition to the emergence of prostate cancer. Men, whose relatives suffered from prostate cancer, have a greater risk of developing the disease.
Prostate cancer is the third most frequent cancer occurring in men, and the sixth in causing death from cancer. The highest incidence of prostate cancer has been reported to be in North America and Northern Europe. The disease rarely occurs in Japan, China and Central America. The risk of prostate cancer increases 3 to 7 times in people from the eastern continent, who moved to countries which are reported to have a high incidence of prostate cancer. Scientists blamed the ‘western diet’ (the use of high calorie food such as animal fats, poor dietary fibers and less vegetables and fruits) as one of the causes of prostate cancer.
Studies show that consumption of fatty food increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. Catering to low-fat food protects people against prostate cancer and progression of the disease.
The role of diet in preventing prostate cancer
Lycopene – a red carotenoid pigment found in tomato, watermelon and pink grapefruit is widely known in the Western countries as ‘a substance necessary for a healthy prostate’. Likopene functions as an antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals and thereby protecting the cell from cancer transformation, reducing the rate of tumor growth.
Polyphenols (catechin) found in green tea and soy products reduce pathological cell division and contribute to apoptosis of cancer cells.
Recent study in Japan showed that consuming large quantities of soy products could reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The reason would be the substance contain in most of the soy products, called fitoestrogen. This substance could block the reproduction and growth of malignant cells and also function as an antioxidant. Beans, lentils and peas are also rich in fitoestrogen.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute also reported that inclusion of cauliflowers and broccoli in the diet can reduce the risk of developing severe forms of prostate cancer. This study was conducted by specialist from the National Cancer Institute of USA and the Canadian organization (Cancer Care Ontario).
Other minerals and vitamins which are considered useful are:
- Vitamin D – it helps to correct the development of prostate cells. Overdose of vitamin D could cause formation of kidney stones.
- Vitamin A – Some studies show that men suffering from prostate cancer have reduced retinol in their blood. Retinol functions as an antioxidant that helps to slow down cell division. Vitamin A could be found in large numbers of red and yellow vegetables and fruit for example apricots, Bulgarian pepper, spinach, salads and chicken livers.
- Vitamin E – It is known for its antioxidant effects. Vitamin E could be found in grains, nuts and spinach. But a prolonged overdose of vitamin E can lead to heart failure and stroke.
The daily consumption of food rich in vegetables, fruits, dietary fibers lowers the risk of developing cancers and help to maintain an active longevity. Thus can contribute towards preventing prostate cancer.
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