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Plant based diet could help fight aggressive prostate cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Eating fruits, veggies and herbs might thwart aggressive prostate cancer.

A new study suggests men who eat a diet that’s primarily plant based might have a lower risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

The finding that comes from researchers at University of South Carolina adds to a growing body of evidence that food rich in flavonoids can help fight a variety of diseases and is one of the few that links fruits, veggies and herbs to lower risk of prostate cancer.

Fruits, veggies and herbs good medicine for cancer prevention

For the study, researchers looked at data from 920 African-American men and 977 white men diagnosed with prostate cancer who were part of the North Carolina–Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project.

The men answered questionnaires about food intake to find out flavonoid content of their diet.

Men who consumed more fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea were found to have a 25 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men with lower intake of foods and beverages rich in flavonoids.

The results also found men younger than age 65 and current smokers who consume citrus juice, fruits, tea, grapes, onions, cooked greens, grapes and strawberries (reported in the questionnaires) also had a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

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The finding was presented by Susan Steck of the Arnold School of Public Health at the International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research; sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Steck said in a press release, “Filling your plate with flavonoid-rich foods is one behavior that can be changed to have a beneficial impact on health.”

Flavonoids are antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, citrus juices and tea have been shown halt the growth of liver, lung, and prostate cancer as well as leukemia cell lines in laboratory tests.

Luteolin, another antioxidant in parsley, thyme, peppermint, basil, celery, green peppers, and artichoke has been found to inhibit a mechanism that promotes growth of colon cancer cells in findings published January, 2012.

The current study is one of few that show a plant-based diet helps thwart prostate cancer in humans. The authors note it's important to consume a variety of foods rich in antioxidants, rather than focus on any one. The finding is especially important for men who are at high risk from family or personal history of the disease.

University of South Carolina
October 19, 2012

Image credit: Morguefile