Diet and Nutrition Tips to Prevent Prostate Cancer (cont.)

People who migrate from Asia to Western countries but maintain their traditional diet remain at lower risk of prostate cancer. That may be because of the high amount of phytoestrogens (plant-based compounds that have estrogen-like activity) in Asian diets. Lab and animal studies have found that the main phytoestrogen in soy, genistein, slows the progression of prostate cancer. Although long-term studies have yet to be done, the evidence so far is promising.

4. Have a tablespoon a day of flaxseed.

A few studies show that a low-fat diet, supplemented with doses of ground flaxseed, may slow the growth of prostate cancer in humans and animals. More studies need to be done, but a daily tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day (which contributes 3 grams of fiber along with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, phytoestrogens, and phytochemicals) is, in general, a good thing to do for your health.

5. Go fish -- a couple of times a week.

Although more studies are needed, there's growing evidence from animal and laboratory studies that omega-3 fatty acids (especially the so-called long-chain omega-3s found in fish) help stop the development of cancer. A Swedish study showed that men who ate no fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna) were two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who ate fish regularly.

6. Red (in fruits and vegetables) means "GO."

Lycopene is the healthy substance that gives tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables their color. Tomato products and lycopene have been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.

7. Decrease saturated fat in your meals and snacks.

Saturated fats from animal products may help promote prostate cancer. You'll find saturated fat in higher-fat animal meats and dairy products; processed foods that use hydrogenated fats and oils; and products that contain coconut or palm kernel oil.

8. Eat less fat and more fruits and vegetables.

The American Institute for Cancer Research concludes that some men are at a higher risk of prostate cancer if they eat a diet high in fat and low in vegetables and fruits. A recent Italian study on prostate cancer patients showed that vegetables in general may have a protective effect.

9. Enjoy foods rich in selenium.

The Physicians' Health Study shows that men with the highest levels of the mineral selenium in their blood were 48% less likely to progress to advanced prostate cancer over 13 years than men with the lowest levels of selenium. The researchers suggest that selenium may slow tumor growth by helping cancer cells to self-destruct, and by protecting cells from oxidation. In foods, selenium tends to come along with protein; some top sources are seafood, lean meats, eggs, whole grains, Brazil nuts, and legumes.

10. Limit preserved foods.

A recent study noted that preserved foods -- particularly pickled vegetables, fermented soy products, salted fish and preserved meat -- were associated with a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer. As the amount of preserved food increased, so did the risk.

Prostate-Protecting Recipes

To get you started on a diet that could improve your odds against prostate cancer, here are a couple of man-friendly recipes to try.

Better-for-You Mashed Potatoes

Journal as: 1/2 cup vegetables without added fat + 1/2 cup starches without added fat + 1/4 cup low-fat milk.

Make a higher-nutrient side dish by blending mashed cauliflower with mashed potatoes -- all dressed up with seasonings and even a sprinkling of reduced-fat cheddar, if you like.

2 large baked potatoes, peel removed and cut into pieces
2 cups steamed or microwaved cauliflower florets, cooked just until tender
1/2 cup grated, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
2/3 cup low-fat milk (fat-free half-and-half can be substituted); use more if needed
Salt and pepper to taste
A sprinkle or two of paprika or garlic powder (optional)

  • Put hot potato pieces, cauliflower florets, and grated cheese in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium-low speed until nicely mashed. Pour in milk, and continue to beat until blended. Add a tablespoon or two more of milk, if needed for desired consistency.
  • Add a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder or paprika (if desired) to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving (not including salt to taste): 140 calories, 5 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrate, 0.7 grams fat (0.3 grams saturated fat, 0.2 grams monounsaturated fat, 0.2 grams polyunsaturated fat), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber, 51 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 4%.

Broccoli Marinara

Journal as: 1/2 cup vegetables with no added fat + 1/2 cup vegetables with 1 teaspoon fat

This dish gives you the health benefits of broccoli AND tomatoes.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in tomato puree (Italian-style, if available)
1 pound broccoli florets (about 5 cups)
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Heat oil in a large, covered, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes with puree and cook about five minutes (reduce heat to medium-low, if needed, to keep it at a gentle boil).
  • Place the broccoli on top of the tomatoes and season with pepper. Cover skillet and simmer over low heat for five minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top, cover skillet again, and continue cooking until broccoli is tender (about four minutes more). Do not overcook the broccoli; it should be a vibrant green. Serve as is, or toss the broccoli with the marinara sauce and enjoy!

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 101 calories, 5.5 grams protein, 14.5 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fat (0.9 grams saturated fat, 1.7 grams monounsaturated fat, 0.4 grams polyunsaturated fat), 2.5 milligrams cholesterol, 4.5 grams fiber, 269 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 27%.

SOURCES: Journal of the National Cancer Institute May 5, 2004. Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers and Prevention, December 2003, July 2003, and March 2004. National Medical Journal of India, January-February 2004. Urology, May 2004. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2004. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, 2002; 5(1). British Journal of Cancer, May 2004. Cancer Research, Aug. 15, 2004. American Institute for Cancer Research brochure, "Reducing Your Risk of Prostate Cancer," 2003.

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