The male reproductive system has a walnut-sized gland, called the prostate gland which is located below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. It is involved in semen production.
Prostate cancer arises when the prostate cells multiply at an uncontrolled rate and start invading structures external to the prostate gland. Worldwide, prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men.
Lifestyle and diet have been shown to influence the variation of prostate cancer rates globally. Healthy choices and nutrition are believed to:
- Help in reducing the risk of prostate cancer
- Slow its progression
- Prevent it from taking an aggressive state.
Let’s examine some foods which have been examined for their role in preventing prostate cancer:
Tomato: Lycopene present in tomatoes has been touted to play a role in preventing prostate cancer. A study involving 578 men who reported prostate cancer in the follow-up period of 13 years, against 1294 control men, assessed the role of carotenoid consumption and the risk of prostate cancer. The study found that men with elevated lycopene levels in their plasma had the lower incidence of prostate cancer. The research concluded that increased consumption of lycopene-containing foods and tomatoes might reduce the incidence or progression of prostate cancer.
Green Tea: Globally, green tea a widely consumed beverage. Green tea consumption has been reported in preventing many cancers. Green tea has potent antioxidants and anticancer compounds like:
An Italian study explored the role of consuming 600 mg of catechins from green tea in 60 men with high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia, a precancerous stage. The study reported significant reductions in the incidence of prostate cancer in such men.
Fatty Fish: Eating fatty fish rich in omega-3-fatty acids has been reported to reduce the mortality rates in men with prostate cancer. Such fish include salmon, herring, mackerel, and trout.
A meta-analysis of clinical studies conducted by the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada in 2010 reported that fish consumption was associated with a 63% reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality.
You can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by making right nutritional choices, though there are no sure shot ways of preventing prostate cancer, altogether.
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- Gann PH, et al. Lower prostate cancer risk in men with elevated plasma lycopene levels: results of a prospective analysis. Cancer Res. 1999 Mar 15;59(6):1225-30.
- Liu, J., Xing, J., & Fei, Y. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) and cancer prevention: A systematic review of randomized trials and epidemiological studies. Chin Med. 2008; 3: 12.
- Bettuzzi S, et al. Chemoprevention of human prostate cancer by oral administration of green tea catechins in volunteers with high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia: a preliminary report from a one-year proof-of-principle study. Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 15;66(2):1234-40.
- Szymanski KM, et al. Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk: a review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1223-33.