HEALTH: Good nutrition can lower prostate cancer risk

By: REBECCA MUTHONI

Prostate cancer is among the leading forms of cancer in men. It develops when the prostate gland enlarges and tumours form.

While this cancer cannot be totally avoided, in some cases, it is partly triggered by diet. Good nutrition is important in reducing the risk of developing several diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

This consequently helps to improve the quality of one’s life. Just like with several other parts of the body, if you take certain nutrients on a daily basis, they can promote growth of prostate cells into a mass.

Vegetables are rich in dietary fibre, which can slow disease progression. Fibre is capable of binding carcinogens and other toxic compounds, which are then gotten rid of from the body.

A diet containing high fibre can work to lower levels of hormones that could be responsible for triggering prostate cancer.

Vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli are especially effective in reducing the risk of prostate cancer because cruciferous vegetables (cabbage family) slow down growth of cancer cells in the body. Whole grains such as oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and whole wheat flour are also good sources of dietary fibre.

Pectin, a form of fibre commonly found in citrus fruits, plums, apricots, and apples, may also help in reducing cancerous cells.

In addition, vegetables, fruits, and grains are a good source of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, among others. Antioxidants are chemicals that interact and reduce the effect of free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that are highly reactive, and can harm the cells in the prostate.

Tomatoes contain a component known as lycopene, a natural red pigment that gives some vegetables and fruits their red colour. Lycopene offers a protective effect against prostate cancer, in fact, high levels of lycopene in the blood are associated with a

reduced risk of prostate cancer, and may even aid slowing down of the spread of cancerous cells.

It is recommended that lycopene be taken in its natural form, rather than supplement form to reap its full health benefits. Besides raw tomatoes, fruits such as papaya, guava and watermelon are good sources of lycopene.

Also eat foods that are low in fat, particularly saturated fats. The fact is that a high-fat diet encourages increased levels of testosterone hormone, which is associated with growth of prostate cancer.

For this reason, eat foods such as red meat, dairy products such as cheese, and other foods with high fat content in moderation. Limit the amount of simple sugars you take, since they are usually highly processed and refined, low in dietary fibre, and also low in their nutrient value. Such foods include cakes, pies, and sweets.

By: taking more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and taking less fried foods, meat, and dairy products, you will benefit from protective nutrients and keep off dietary factors that encourage cancer. So, if you want to lower your risk of prostate cancer, think good nutrition.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION