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Prostate Diet

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, self-treatment is not recommended. It is good to have the opinion of your doctor before taking supplements or herbal remedies. Even when you are under medical care it is not safe to take certain over-the-counter medications or vitamin supplements; s ome drugs or supplements may interact with chemotherapy drugs and cause adverse effects. Complementary approaches are discouraged if they are used in lieu of medical treatment. Delaying or stopping medical treatment can decrease the chances of remission and lead to serious problems. These dietary guidelines are by no means a replacement of conventional medicine or a substitute for your doctor's advice.

What you eat can be an important factor in preventing prostate cancer or increasing your chance to have it. It is no doubt that that fruits and vegetables are key agents in preventing the majority of cancer including prostate cancer. In the other hand, a diet rich in red meat, dairy or animal fat is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. For example, men who have elevated levels of Insulin Growth Factor (IGF -I) are more likely to develop prostate cancer.  This risk is even higher among men who drink milk from cows injected with bovine growth hormone (BGH), since this kind of milk have a rate of IGF-1 (a cancer tumor promoter ) nearly ten times higher than the rate found in normal milk.  

Certain fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment that has anti-cancer properties.  Among those fruits and vegetables include watermelons, carrots, grapefruits and tomatoes (including tomato products); they are highly correlated on reducing the risk of many types of cancer, mainly prostate cancer. Some vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and zinc have also positive effects for the reduction of prostate cancer risk. In addition, soybeans (including soy products), due to its concentration of isoflavones, is also a product shown capable to prevent formation of cancerous cells.   

Note : grapefruitis known to interact  with certain chemotherapy drugs – Vincristine for instance. Talk to your doctor before drinking grapefruit juice if you are undergoing chemotherapy.  

There is no unique method of preventing prostate cancer; in fact, no scientist knows for sure how to prevent the disease. However, you can take appropriate measures to not become a victim. Research suggests that the following measures can help you not only prevent but also combat prostate cancer if you already have it:   

Reducing Fat Intake – before beginning an anti-cancer diet, it is important to first reduce or completely eliminate consumption of foods rich in fat and red meat. This is important not only to prevent prostate cancer but also other types of cancer as well as numerous cardiovascular diseases including cardiac arrest. In fact, reduction of red meat, and dietary and animal fats, in particular saturated, fat may prolong your life even if you have cancer. However, a high intake of fatty fish (which is rich in omega 3) reduces the risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

Eating Foods Rich In Lycopene - research has shown that regular consumption of foods rich in lycopene mainly tomatoes (and products containing it in large quantities) can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene, a pigment that gives tomatoes and other vegetables and fruits their beautiful color, is considered as one of the most promising phytochemical of the Pharmacopoeia plants to reduce the risk of prostate cancer or slow its progression. Whenever it is possible, eat plenty of tomatoes.  

Eating Vegetables From The Allium Family – studies on nutrition and prostate cancer have shown that vegetables from the allium family (garlic, onion, chives, shallots, leek s and others) have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties on the entire body including the prostate gland. High consumption could help prevent development of prostate cancer. 

Increasing Zinc Intake - there is high concentration of zinc in the prostate gland than in any other tissue of the body. In addition, zinc has antioxidant properties and plays an important role in keeping the immune system strong. In other words, zinc helps maintain the immune system healthy to fight against infections and other serious diseases, especially against cancer. In treatment of prostate, Zinc has been shown to help the excretion of testosterone and d ihydrotestosterone (DHT) . The mineral inhibits the activity of the enzyme 5-Alpha reductase , and therefore decreases the production of dihydrotestosterone, factor responsible for prostate disease. It also inhibits the secretion of prolactin (also known as Luteotropic hormone or LTH) , which leads to a decreased production of dihydrotestosterone.  

Eating Soy Products - Researchers have found a lower prevalence of prostate cancer in Asia where people eat soy in large quantity. It is believed that high soy intake may explain this occurrence . Although not totally conclusive, it is believed that the isoflavones contained in the soy play this protective role. These nutrients seem to inhibit tumor growth by a combination of direct effects on the tumor cells and indirect effects on angiogenesis -physiological process consisting of formation of new blood vessels to feed the tumor. It appears that soy products (tofu, soy milk, and others) not only slow the progression of prostate cancer but also breast cancer.  

Increasing Selenium Intake - according to a clinical trial performed on 1312 subjects for six years by the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study (NPC), published in 1996, it appears that selenium may reduce the development of carcinomas in several sites of the body including the prostate gland. It is advisable to continuously consume at least 200 mg/day of selenium, preferably in food, and not exceed 400 mg/day. Among foods good sources of selenium include:  

  • Nuts: Brazil nuts, walnut; 
  • Meats: tuna, beef, cod, turkey & chicken; 
  • Pasta: spaghetti & macaroni; 
  • Others: egg, cottage cheese, oat meal, rice, wheat bread.  

Vitamin E - Vitamin E, also Known as tocopherol, is a fat soluble vitamin (soluble in lipids, but insoluble in water) which is recognized primarily as an antioxidant. It slows the aging of the skin and ensures the stability of cellular structures. Taken continuously, vitamin E can reduce the risk of prostate cancer among smokers. If you take supplements, however, be careful to overdose; vitamin E overdose could lead to fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, and interfere with the body's ability to clot blood . Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, mainly in wheat germ oil, unrefined palm (red) oil and sunflower oil, soybean, peanut and olive oils. It is also found in lesser amounts in cereals, almonds, green vegetables, butter, margarine, and fatty fish. 

However, before taking any supplement of selenium or vitamin E as prostate cancer prevention, it is recommended to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test done. PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland; a rate in the blood greater than 3 ng/mL may indicate a high risk of prostate cancer. Among those at risk, these supplements can cause this type of cancer instead of preventing it.