Given how common Prostate cancer is worldwide (4th most common cancer per WHO in 2022), there have been various research studies done to try to determine if a person’s food habits and diet, can increase or reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer.
Some of the studies have been inconclusive and some contradict others, however some research findings have been determined to be, more likely than not, accurate.
Here is a list of some common foods shown to help decrease prostate cancer occurrence:
1. Cruciferous Vegetables: Eating cruciferous vegetables such as arugula; bok choy; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; cabbage; cauliflower; kale; radish; turnips.
Coleslaw, a popular dish made from cabbage, will be familiar to most Nigerians.
During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down to form biologically active compounds, amongst them a compound called Indoles. Indoles have been shown to help inactivate carcinogens inhibit tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis).
Please note, if you have a Thyroid condition, such as low Thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism) when consuming these types of vegetables, especially if they are not cooked, as they can cause your thyroid hormone to become lower.
2. Fresh Fish: Eating fresh fish especially cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and trout.
In Nigeria Sardines are found in our freshwaters. Please note that eating canned tuna does not offer the same protection, in fact some studies have shown, it can increase inflammation in the body.
The fish named above, contain unsaturated fat such as Omega 3 Oil. This type of fat is good for the health.
Please note, the fat in red meat is saturated fat, which causes inflammation inside the body.
3. Cooked Tomatoes and Sweet red pepper/Bell pepper: When tomatoes and sweet red pepper are cooked, they release a compound called Lycopene. Lycopene is an anti-oxidant, and has been found in many studies, to protect the prostate by going to the prostate gland and providing its anti-oxidant action. Lycopene reduces PSA levels.
4. Watermelon: Watermelon, like cooked tomatoes and sweet red pepper, also contains Lycopene.
5. Vitamins A, D, and E: Vitamins A, D and E, have been shown to offer protective properties to the prostate. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant; Vitamin D is metabolized to Calcitoriol which lowers PSA levels; and Vitamin E exhibits strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombolytic effects, and preclinical investigations suggest that it inhibits tumor growth.
6. Green Tea and Coffee: Green Tea contains Catechin. Catechin inhibits prostate cancer progression. Researchers aren’t sure how coffee reduces cancer risk. It’s a complex substance that contains hundreds of active ingredients, many of which may be beneficial. This includes antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols.
Please note that a Japanese study, showed that you have to drink 5 cups of green tea to get its prostate benefits. Some studies have sited 2 cups of coffee a day as offering benefit to reducing prostate cancer development.
7. Soy beans: Soy beans contain isoflavones, which exhibit estrogenic effects in prostate tissue.
Please note that people with Low Thyroid hormone, should avoid soy, as it can lower thyroid hormone levels.
8. Leguminous plants: Examples of leguminous plants are beans, a common food in Nigeria. Leguminous plants contain isoflavones.
Thank you for reading this article, we hope it will be of benefit to you when selecting what foods to eat.
References for the article came from multiple studies, including the Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb; 21(4): 1447, by Makoto Matsushita et al.
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