Prostate Cancer Awareness

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September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Several studies have shown that diet and exercise are important for prostate health. They help boost the immune system, speed up recovery time from cancer treatment and improve the overall quality of life.

Here are 7 suggestions for prostate cancer prevention and treatment:

1. Consume a low-fat diet. Limit consumption of saturated fat by cutting back on beef, poultry skin and dark meat, whole milk & dairy products, and butter. Animal fat appears to increase prostate cancer risk.
2. Eat 25-35 grams of fiber daily from whole-grain breads and cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Dietary fiber reduces levels of circulating testosterone and inhibits prostate cancer progression.
3. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This will provide numerous phytochemicals which act as antioxidants to help fight the onset and progression of prostate cancer. Cooked or processed tomatoes, rich in the potent antioxidant lycopene, may be especially beneficial in reducing risk of prostate cancer.
4. Shoot for 40-60 grams of soy protein daily from soy protein powder and whole soyfoods including tofu and soymilk. Genistein and daidzein, the isoflavones found in soyfoods, have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory.
5 . Ask your dietitian or oncologist about taking supplements of vitamins C, E and selenium. These antioxidants may be beneficial in the fight against prostate cancer.
6. Drink green tea. Mayo Clinic researchers led by Dr. Charles Young found that EGCG, a certain polyphenol in green tea, kills prostate cancer cells and causes apoptosis, or programmed cell death. While it’s too early to say whether green tea will prevent or cure prostate cancer, the history of green tea suggests more health benefits than harm. Most experts recommend four to seven cups of green tea a day.
7. Get Moving! Regular exercise is just as important as a healthy diet in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Exercise helps boost the immune system, reduces stress, and fights obesity which all decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Try walking, swimming, or Tai Chi. Even household chores count! Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Although more research in nutrition and prostate cancer is needed, using these nutritional suggestions will improve your overall quality of life and may help guard against other cancers and heart disease. Making nutritional and lifestyle changes are your personal commitment to fight prostate cancer.

By Sandy Hernandez, MS, RD, Nutrition Services Coordinator, The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miami Beach, Florida.

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