Plant-Based Diet Lowers Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer, Study Says


The Key Takeaways

  • A plant-based diet is rich in antioxidant-rich and antiinflammatory vegetables, fruits and beans, as well as whole grains.
  • A new study found that men under 65 years old are at lower risk for aggressive prostate cancer and fatal prostate cancer if they eat plant-based foods.
  • Plant-based diets are effective in fighting cancer because they contain vitamins and minerals, fiber, as well as phytochemicals.

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men.About 248,500 men were diagnosed in 2021 with prostate cancer. The disease claimed the lives of 34,000 men.

A new study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical NutritionStudies have shown that a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Julie Balsamo, MS/RD, a registered dietian, states that plant-based diets tend to have fewer processed options. She also emphasizes whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and legumes. Nutrition By Julie.


About the Study

Researchers used data from the Health Professionals Followup Study to conduct this prospective study. This study followed 47,239 men for 28 years. The study involved men who completed food frequency questionnaires every four years to track their dietary habits.

Researchers looked for associations between plant-based diets, advanced, fatal, and lethal prostate cancers in men of different ages. For men 65 years and younger, eating more plant-based foods was associated to a lower risk for advanced, fatal, and lethal prostate cancer. The associations were not seen in men older than 65.

Rayna McCann MS, RDN CSO, CDN

It is not surprising that a recent study found a lower risk of developing prostate cancer if you eat a plant-based diet. This is because plant-based foods are high in fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

— Rayna McCann, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN

Men aged 65 and older had a statistically significant decrease in the risk of developing prostate cancer, lethal prostate disease, or death from it. Their risk was actually reduced by more that one-third.

“It is not surprising that this new study shows lower risk of prostate carcinoma linked to a diet based on plants,” Rayna Mccann, MS, RDN, CDN, CSO, CDN, a board certified specialist in oncology nutrition, and founder of Happy Healthy Nutrition, LLC, Long Island, New York.


Why Plant-Based Eating Can Be Beneficial

A plant-based diet is one that consists mainly of foods of plant origin such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains.Some plant-based diets are completely vegan and do not contain any animal-based food. Others choose to eat mostly plants, but include less meat, fish, milk, or eggs.

Balsamo says that plant-based diets are effective in fighting cancer. They contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Balsamo states that Lycopene (the bright red pigment found in tomatoes, watermelon and tomatoes) has been shown beneficial in terms protecting against prostate carcinoma.

She also notes that whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans are naturally high-fiber. Research has shown that a high-fiber diet may decrease the progression of prostate carcinoma.Fiber helps to eliminate toxins from our bodies by keeping our digestive system healthy.

Balsamo states, “As a general recommendation aim for at least 25g fiber a day (from whole food sources)”.


How Dairy affects Prostate Risk

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), there is little evidence that eating high amounts of dairy products or calcium can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.This information is based in older studies which found that men who consume two or more cups daily of whole milk had a greater chance of developing advanced prostate cancer.

Recent studies have shown that this is not the case. Research on dairy, calcium, as well as prostate cancer has been mixed.

A systematic review of dairy health and prostate cancer from 2020 shows that there are not any formal clinical recommendations regarding the intake of dairy products for men at high risk or with a history. The connection needs to be further investigated.


How to add more plants to your diet

No matter whether you eat animal products or not, eating more plants is a great way to start. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower rate of prostate cancer progression.To reap the benefits from eating more plants, you don’t need to be vegan.

Julie Balsamo, MS, RDN

The ideal diet to prevent prostate cancer would be primarily plant-based. This means that you eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and low-fat dairy.

— Julie Balsamo, MS, RDN

Balsamo says, “In my professional opinion the ideal diet for prostate-cancer prevention would be primarily plant based, focusing mainly on fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds with a moderate intake lean proteins, low fat dairy, and seafood.”

The study found that less than 1% of participants followed a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet. However, eating more plants showed positive results. There is no need to be completely vegan to reap the benefits.

McCann advises, “Start your nutritional plan where you are at.” “Plant-based foods are a good option for your meals. Even small changes can make a big difference.

It might also be helpful to think of it like eating a plant.centered diet. McCann says that some clients find this concept less daunting, and she helps them create delicious meals with their favorite vegetables, beans and grains.

McCann says, “If you don’t like kale, don’t eat it.” “Find plant foods that you love.  It’s a lifestyle. You have the option to make it your own.

What does this mean for you?

This study shows that eating more plant-based foods is associated to a lower chance of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer. The benefit is stronger for men younger than 65. This age group is you? If so, you might consider adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet. However, you should cut back on animal-based food like meat and milk. Before making major changes to the way you eat, talk to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian.


Source: Very Well Fit

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