Does what you eat make you more likely to develop prostate cancer? If you have prostate cancer, are there foods that help fight it off and keep it from coming back? November is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to focus on preventing one of the most common types of cancer in men around the world. Experts estimate that in the next 10 years, prostate cancer will be even more common than lung cancer. Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms, so regular screening is important. Here are some things you can do to assess and reduce your risk.
Are You at Risk?
Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to develop the disease. African American men are 1.6 times more likely than Caucasians to be diagnosed. Asian-American men and men who are Hispanic or Latino are less likely to develop prostate cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund International conducted extensive studies on risk factors. They studied how diet, weight, and activity level affected risk. Here’s what they found.
- Strong evidence exists that men who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
- There is strong evidence that developmental factors contribute to increased risk. For example, the taller a man is, the higher his risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Beta-carotene was thought to reduce risk, but studies show that consuming large amounts of it has no effect on risk.
- Age is a factor. Men under 40 rarely develop prostate cancer, but the risk rises gradually after men reach 50.
- Geography matters. Men in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America are. Lifestyle differences such as a diet low in processed foods likely account for the difference.
- Diet plays a role. Men who eat a lot of red meat and high-fat dairy have a higher risk. These men also typically eat fewer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Foods That Might Cause Prostate Cancer
Foods that are packaged and processed are often high in fat and calories. If you get it from a drive-through, it probably isn’t going to help you maintain a healthy body weight. Those foods aren’t just bad for your waistline; they might make you more likely to develop prostate cancer.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle studied men between the ages of 35 and 74. They found men who ate French fries, fried meats, or fried doughnuts once a week or more had a 30 to 37 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Men with the lowest risk ate fried foods once a month or less. Saturated fats have been linked with heart disease, so avoiding them kills two birds with one stone.
Red meat contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs), carcinogens linked to several cancers. Stay away from processed beef, pork, lunch-meat, hot dogs, and sausage.
Prostate Protection Diet
Even if you only have one or two risk factors, healthy nutrition can help you prevent prostate cancer. Being overweight or obese is one of the biggest contributing factors to developing prostate cancer. Eating right and staying physically active helps keep your body mass index within a healthy range. Replace unhealthy foods with these options.
Nuts – Selenium is good for prostate health, and Brazil nuts contain 10 times your recommended daily allowance. Nuts also contain high levels of zinc, another mineral important to maintaining a healthy prostate. Nuts are high in protein, magnesium, and thiamin, all of which have health benefits.
Broccoli – Broccoli fights cancer. It is rich in sulforaphane, which helps the body detoxify itself and eliminates outside elements that may cause cancer. It also contains indole-3-carbinol, which suppresses cancer cell growth and lowers the production of protein specific antigen. One trial found men who eat broccoli more than once a week had a 45 percent less chance of developing advanced prostate cancer.
Cayenne – This bright red chili pepper contains capsaicin, which reduces pain and kills cancer cells. Capsaicin attacks cancer cells and causes them to self-destruct. It also fights atherosclerosis, prevents ulcers, and helps reduce your risk of diabetes.
Green tea – Men who drink at least three cups of green tea a day have a lowered risk of prostate cancer.
Pomegranates – Pomegranate extract slows prostate cancer cell reproduction and stops blood vessels from nourishing prostate tumors. Pomegranate juice is a great way to get it in.
Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids in fish both prevent prostate cancer and slow prostate tumor development. Eating fish can reduce your risk even if you’re genetically predisposed.
Fight Prostate Cancer and Make Money
It can be hard to eat healthy with today’s busy lifestyles. You can’t always find food that’s good for you. Vending machines offer convenient snacking, but they’re often full of the worst foods. Consider installing a Naturals2Go healthy vending machine at your office. Operators select inventory based on what their customers want and their own nutritional needs.
Offer nuts, bean chips, and all-natural fruit snacks in place of cookies and candy bars. Keep healthy options handy for yourself and those closest to you, and make money doing it. Contact us today to find out more about our machines.