How a man’s dinner plate can help prevent prostate cancer

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How a man’s dinner plate can help prevent prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men other than skin cancer.  It affects about one in seven men and estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2018 are that 164,690 new cases will be diagnosed with around 29,430 deaths that will occur from this disease.

The majority of men can and do beat back prostate cancer but the treatment for it can sometimes result in side effects such as urinary incontinence, bowel urgency, and sexual dysfunction, according to the American Cancer Society.

Some may say chronic diseases are random and inevitable but it’s becoming clear that what you eat can play a significant role in reducing or promoting disease.  What we put on our dinner plate can either work for us or against us. And for men, their daily food choices do matter on influencing their risk of developing prostate cancer. 

Diet appears to play a role in the development of prostate cancer.  Many studies have revealed that consuming a healthy diet has a strong influence on whether a man may develop this disease or not.  Here are three ways a man’s diet can help him in his fight against this potentially deadly disease:

1.     Every day eat a food that is high in lycopene

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with potential anticancer properties.  Many studies have shown a potential link between a higher intake of lycopene being associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Several laboratory and preclinical studies have shown less cancer cell growth in the presence of lycopene.

Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical giving fruits and vegetables a red color.  It is also an antioxidant working to fight free radicals that damage molecules floating around in the body disrupting cells and promoting disease such as prostate cancer. 

It is found abundantly in foods such as tomatoes, cooked tomato products like tomato paste and sauce, pink grapefruit, watermelon and papayas.  One cup of tomatoes contain 6.7 milligrams of lycopene with cooked tomatoes containing even more since the heating process raises levels of the nutrient by up to 35 percent.

Watermelon has 40 percent more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.  Choose a ripe watermelon to obtain the optimum level of this nutrient.

The tropical fruit papayas are brimming with lycopene containing 2.6 milligrams per cup. 

When a healthy fat like olive oil or an avocado are added to foods rich in lycopene, the absorption is increased of this nutrient.  The recommended dose of lycopene is 4 to 8 milligrams daily.

2.     Follow a plant-based diet

Study after study have shown time and again, following a plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. 

Following a plant-based diet is an eating plan that includes a lot of plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and small amounts of healthy fats.  Plant-based diets greatly reduce refined grains, processed foods and sweets. 

Plant-based diets can not only result in a lowered risk of prostate cancer it can also lead to reduced risk of hypertension, healthier body weights, improved symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and a longer life. 

3.     Limit red and processed meat and fried food

Consumption of red and processed meats appear to have a connection possibly leading to a higher risk of prostate cancer.  A 2011 study did show a positive association between a higher intake of ground beef or processed meat with aggressive prostate cancer.  Another 2013 study showed that high-heat cooking methods such as frying may increase the risk of prostate cancer.  The potential mechanisms leading to this is the formation of potentially carcinogenic substances such as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

It’s also advised to strictly limit intake of processed meats. Men who eat a lot of high-fat red meat or processed meats like sausage, bacon, or hot dogs, are doing themselves no favor.  Choose instead healthy sources of animal fats like lean cuts of beef, more fatty fish like salmon and poultry without the skin. Also include healthy plant-based fats such as olive and canola oils, nuts and seeds.

By adopting the above dietary suggestions, it can be one way for a man to avoid the potentially deadly disease of prostate cancer.