husband has prostate cancer. Are your nutrition guidelines appropriate
for him, too?
many men with prostate cancer have followed the guidelines in my book,
along with some type of conventional cancer therapy, with success. The
following article will provide much information specific to prostate
cancer and nutrition that you will find helpful.
4/01, updated 5/02
prostate cancer: eat your way to victory"
Sue Rose, MS, RD
Private Practice and Consultant, Park Ridge, IL
Staff dietitian, Cancer Wellness Center, Northbrook, IL
could reduce your risk of prostate cancer by adjusting your diet, would
you do it? If you knew that 179,000 new cases of prostate cancer would
be diagnosed this year, and that 37,000 men would die, would you reconsider
is mounting evidence that diet is strongly linked to prostate cancer-the
second most common cause of cancer-related death in American men. Though
the statistics sound gloomy, the good news is that the diet you eat
today may actually delay or prevent the development of prostate cancer
down the road. In Asia, for example, the percentage of men who develop
prostate cancer is far less than that of the United States, and the
prostate cancer that develops in Asian men is more curable. Researchers
have long speculated that certain aspects of the Asian diet may be protective
against prostate cancer. And in certain Mediterranean countries such
as Greece and Italy, the rate of prostate cancer is also low; some researchers
speculate that diet is a factor there, as well.
called isoflavones, found mainly in soybeans, are present in the Asian
diet, but are virtually absent in the typical American diet. Asians
eat the whole soybean or minimally processed by-products of the soybean,
such as tofu and soymilk. It is estimated that Japanese men consume
up to 200 mg of isoflavones per day while other Asian men consume 25-45
mg. American men, however, typically consume less than 5 mg of isoflavones
may exert anti-tumor properties in a variety of ways. They might play
a role in prohibiting the formation of new blood vessels that are necessary
to feed a growing cancer. Since prostate cancer is a hormone-dependent
cancer, the isoflavones may lower the hormones that trigger prostate
cancer, theoretically lessening the likelihood of the cancer growing.
of isoflavones include:
- available in most refrigerated produce or dairy sections of your
local supermarket. You can make a healthy shake by blending together
1/2 cup of tofu with a banana, orange juice, and other fruit.
soymilk - available in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or coffee,
yields about 40 mg of isoflavones in a one-cup serving and is made
by several different companies.
- available in all health food stores, these yield 60 mg of isoflavones
per 1/4 cup.
contains cancer-preventing compounds called flavonoids, which act as
antioxidants. Several studies performed in animals suggest that one
particular flavonoid, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may have the
ability to stop tumors from spreading. Japanese researchers have noted
that cancer onset in patients consuming 10 cups of green tea per day
seems to be three to eight years later when compared with people who
consume three or less cups of green tea. The typical Asian consumes
an average of five cups of green tea per day.
to Dr. Douglas Balentine of the Lipton Tea company, if green tea is
steeped for only one minute, the average flavonoid content is 208 mg.
If it is steeped for four minutes, the flavonoid content increases to
Red fruits and vegetables
is part of a group of compounds called carotenoids that are known for
their antioxidant properties, which may include the ability to inhibit
cancer. Where can you find lycopene- Watermelon and pink grapefruit
contain lycopene, but tomato-based foods contain the most. When tomato-based
foods are heated and mixed with a small amount of oil, the lycopene
absorption is maximized. That makes cooked tomato products excellent
sources of lycopene.
oft-reported study, Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard Medical School
examined the diets of more than 47,000 males over a six-year period.
He noted a correlation between prostate cancer and a marginal intake
of tomato-based foods, which contain large amounts of lycopene. Men
who ate ten or more servings per week of tomato-based foods had a 45
percent lower likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
jury is still out on lycopene," says Colleen Doyle, M.S., R.D.,
nutrition and physical activity director for the American Cancer Society
(ACS). "Earlier studies have not consistently shown that men who
consume more lycopene are at a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer."
However, Doyle points out that tomatoes are still an important part
of a healthy diet. "Everyone should eat at least five servings
of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day and tomatoes are
a great way to get in your five daily vegetable servings," she
study from the Fred Hutchinson Center in Seattle confirms that all vegetables
may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. According to Alan Kristal,
Dr.P.H., "eating a lot of vegetables can cut your risk of prostate
cancer by about 45 percent. And if those vegetables are from the cruciferous
family, like cabbage and broccoli, you may reduce your risk even further."
examined the risks for prostate cancer in younger men (ages 40 to 64)-looked
at the associations between overall fruit and vegetable consumption
as well as specific fruits and vegetables and prostate cancer risk.
study, men who ate three or more servings per day of vegetables had
a 48 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, compared with men who ate
less than one serving per day. This association was independent of other
dietary factors (such as fat intake) and a history of prostate cancer
in a father or a brother. The strongest correlation was noted with the
cruciferous vegetables-broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels
been speculated that the typical high fat intake in the western diet
may accelerate prostate cancer. A recent study at Sloan Kettering Institute
for Cancer Research noted that the antioxidant effects of vitamin E
seem to halt prostate tumor growth in mice, which was initially triggered
by a high-fat diet. Research continues to suggest that 200-400 IUs (international
units) of supplemental vitamin E may be helpful for all Americans, so
this is one supplement that may be beneficial for both prostate health
and overall health.
cancer is a hormone-dependent cancer. Any aspect of the diet that binds
hormones could have a positive effect on prostate health. Dietary fiber,
for instance, may remove hormones from the system. It has been found
that men who eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains-all excellent
sources of fiber-have lower circulating levels of male hormones. The
National Cancer Institute recommends consuming at least 25 grams of
fiber per day. A 1/2-cup serving of fruit or vegetables contains about
2 grams of fiber; a slice of whole grain bread 5 grams; and a 1/2-cup
serving of high fiber cereal a whopping 14 grams.
The bottom line?
food or supplement can protect you from prostate cancer. A diet that
is lower in fat, contains at least five servings per day of fruits and
vegetables, and the addition of soy-based products will go a long way
in protecting your prostate.
by Diana Dyer, MS, RD
Some (but not all) recent studies suggest that higher intakes of milk
may increase risk for prostate cancer. The American Institute for Cancer
Research (AICR) has reviewed all the available scientific literature
to date on this issue and has published a summary on its website.
Not enough of the science is fully understood about this possible connection
to issue dietary guidelines. However, it is prudent at this point for
men to keep their calcium intake (from both food and supplement sources)
to the DRI of 1000 mg/day and to make sure they are getting at least
the DRI for Vitamin D of 400 IU/day (from fortified foods or supplement
Cure: Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate
- a web site dedicated to information on lycopene
Institute for Cancer Research
to Main QandA Page
husband has prostate cancer. Are your nutrition guidelines appropriate for
him, too? posted
4/01, updated 5/02
husband has prostate cancer. I recently read that a high calcium intake
may cause prostate cancer. How high is too high? Should I be restricting
his calcium intake? posted
husband had prostate cancer. Should he be avoiding flax? posted
few words of wisdom and encouragement from a man with prostate cancer. posted
there some good web sites for prostate cancer information?
These questions and answers
are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with
the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider
for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical