Mediterranean way of eating linked to lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer

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Mediterranean way of eating linked to lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer

It looks like choosing foods following the dietary pattern of the Mediterranean way of eating suggests a lower risk of men developing aggressive prostate cancer according to recent research.  The study, which was conducted in 7 Spanish provinces in Spain, followed 754 men with confirmed incident cases of prostate cancer and 1,277 controls aged 38 to 85 years of age between September 20087 and December 2013. 

The researchers found that men who followed the dietary patterns of the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than men who followed either a Prudent or Western diet.

“This research confirms what I have always recommended for everyone and that is adhering to a Mediterranean style of eating.  It simply has many, many health benefits and men should consider adopting this way of eating to help reduce the possibility of aggressive prostate cancer,” stated Dr. David Samadi.  “We’ve known for some time the link between certain components within food such as the phytochemical lycopene possibly lowering risk of prostate cancer or a high consumption of foods rich in calcium possible detrimental effects on the disease.  Those studies looked at single or individual nutrients’ effect on prostate cancer.  But there have been far too few studies that have explored the association between overall dietary patterns and prostate cancer risk.  This study has done this type of research.”

This population-based multicase-control study looked at the association between the dietary patterns of the Western, Prudent, and Mediterranean that were reconstructed using MCC-Spain data.  To assess the association between each dietary way of eating and the risk of prostate cancer, logistic regression models with random province-specific intercepts were used.  Researchers looked at risk of aggressive prostate tumors according to a Gleason score grade of 6 vs >6 and extension – cT10cT2a vs cT2b-cT4. 

“Not surprisingly, men who mainly followed the Mediterranean dietary pattern of eating foods of lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and olive oil, specifically had a lower rate of prostate cancer,”  said Dr. Samadi.  “Only the Mediterranean pattern of eating showed a difference on being associated with lowering the risk of the tumor aggressive of prostate cancer.   Neither the Western or Prudent dietary patterns showed any relationship with prostate cancer or of lowering a man’s risk of it.”

A Prudent diet in the study was defined as a dietary pattern of high consumption of low fat dairy foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and juices. The definition of a Western pattern of eating is loosely considered one high in saturated fats, red meat, refined and processed foods while low in consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seafood. 

Dr. Samadi went on to add, “A limitation of this study is self-reported dietary information or dietary recall by the participants which is always a concern in case-control studies.  But this study does have strengths of having recruited confirmed cases of men with prostate cancer along with the wide geographical variety of men who were recruited.  This gave a more fair accurate representation of different dietary patterns that coexist in Spain.  What I particularly liked about this study was that it points out and emphasizes taking into account whole patterns of eating instead of focusing on individual nutrients or food.  We need to focus more on food synergy which is when components within the same foods work together in ways that are more powerful than their effects would be separately. The foods that compose the Mediterranean diet create great food synergy for good health.”

“I would simply add that men who have a high adherence of following the dietary pattern of the Mediterranean diet could result in a more protective effect leading to less aggressive or more advanced prostate cancer.  Men who see results like this should strongly consider making the Mediterranean diet of how they make their food choices.  Besides protecting their prostate, it also is known to have protective benefits for reducing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, reducing high blood pressure and weight gain.  It’s a win-win way of eating for everyone.” 

Patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer can contact world renowned prostate cancer surgeon and urologic oncologist Dr. David Samadi, for a free phone consultation and to learn more about prostate cancer risk, call 212-365-5000.