A team led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center published a review analyzing the link between diet and prostate cancer in the journal BMC Medicine. The study is entitled “Nutrition, dietary interventions and prostate cancer: the latest evidence.”
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, with almost one million new cases diagnosed every year worldwide. It is a curable cancer that can range from slow-growing tumors (more common) to rapidly progressing aggressive tumors. An early diagnosis of the disease is crucial.
Prostate cancer was found to have a six-fold higher incidence in Western than in non-Western countries, where factors related to lifestyle, diet, genetics and environment are thought to play a role. This review focused on the potential role of dietary patterns in prostate cancer incidence and development.
Researchers found that low refined carbohydrates intake and an increased consumption of omega-3 fat, soy protein, green teas, coffee, pomegranate, resveratrol (present in raspberries, blueberries, grapes and wine), tomatoes and tomato products may reduce the risk for prostate cancer. Zyflamend, which is an anti-inflammatory mixture of herbs (including ginger, green tea, oregano, rosemary, among others), can also reduce prostate cancer risk. On the other hand, a higher β-carotene status (which is abundant in plants and fruits) and a higher intake of saturated fat can increase the risk of prostate cancer development. A possible ‘U’ shape relationship (a nonlinear relationship between two variables) may exist between calcium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin D with the risk of prostate cancer.
Although the findings are to some extent inconclusive, there is evidence for a potential role of dietary intake in the prevention of prostate cancer. The team suggests that a combination of all dietary factors found to be advantageous for prostate cancer risk reduction might be beneficial in men. This healthy dietary pattern includes a high consumption of fruits and vegetables and a reduced intake of refined carbohydrates (which can be replaced by whole grains), overcooked red meats and total and saturated fats. Prospective clinical trials should be conducted to establish the benefits of such diet in prostate cancer incidence and development.