Lycopene, a reddish pigment that gives color to foods like tomatoes, has been shown to help lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and prostate-cancer risk. (1)
It is still unclear how nutrition affects a man’s risk for prostate cancer, but a recent research showed promise in helping to prevent it.
Behind skin cancer, the second-most-common form of cancer in men is prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Men which are over 50 age, African American, or those who have family history of prostate cancer, are most at risk.
A diet which is rich in red vegetables such as apricots, tomatoes, guavas and watermelons could help in preventing men from developing prostate cancer, according to Barbara Quinn, a nutritionist affiliated with the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. (2)
Nutritionists believe that presence of lycopene in these vegetables is the main reason. The vegetables and fruits with reddish colour has been linked with a decrement of the PSA.
Increased levels of PSA are linked to increased risk of prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NC). The recent procedures to analyse the progression of prostate cancer in men are evaluated by certain blood tests to check the PSA levels present.
It is still not clear if consumed lycopene as a supplement is equally effective in preventing chances of prostate cancer, said Quinn however. Her recommends are to consume a lot of red vegetables in order to reduce the chances.
There is one theory that says if lycopene is cooked with healthy fat it can be better absorbed of the nutrients by the body. For example, tomatoes cooked in olive oil can be very rich source of lycopene, compared to raw tomatoes alone.
Also, it is found that red vegetables are rich in vitamin D which can help in fighting against the chances of developing prostate cancer in men. This vitamin may have protective effect on cells in the prostate gland. For vitamin D is also still not clear if it would be effective as a supplement. Studies shows that men who are already diagnosed with prostate cancer have lower levels of vitamin D.
Currently, there are three million Americans living with prostate cancer. Researchers found out that healthy foods may really impact it’s development. (3)
“There is currently very little evidence to counsel men living with prostate cancer on how they can modify their lifestyle to improve survival. Our results suggest that a heart-healthy diet may benefit these men by specifically reducing their chances of dying of prostate cancer,” said Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard Chan School.
The conclusion of the study is that men who followed the Western diet had a 2.5X higher risk of prostate cancer-related death, and a 67 percent increased risk of dying from other causes when comparing them to men who consumed vegetables and fruits.