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Super Bowl Snacks, Beer Benefit Prostate


Snacks are a big part of the Super Bowl experience, and since the audience is more than 50 percent male, these snack ideas are targeted for men and prostate health, although women can enjoy these Super Bowl snacks, too.

Pumpkin Seeds
Pass by the nuts and reach for pumpkin seeds. These tasty morsels contain components that can interrupt overstimulation of prostate cells by testosterone and its conversion product, DHT (dihydrotestosterone). The result? Pumpkin seeds can help prevent benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), enlargement of the prostate gland that commonly affects men 50 years and older. Pumpkin seeds also contain a good amount of zinc, a mineral shown to be beneficial for prostate health. In fact, a new study published in Clinica Chimica Acta suggests that zinc may be a potential treatment for prostate cancer.

Spice up your pumpkin seeds for Super Bowl Sunday. Heat up a large, dry skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of dry pumpkin seeds and shake/stir the seeds constantly as they are toasting. When the seeds begin to get golden and pop open, they are done. Sprinkle the hot seeds with garlic powder, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings.

A growing number of studies indicate that soy and the isoflavones that it contains—daidzein and genistein--help prevent prostate cancer. A tasty way to take advantage of this benefit is to snack on roasted edamame, the young, green soybeans still in their pods. The recipe is easy and the results are a big hit with beer. To make roasted edamame, thaw one 10-ounce package of edamame. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tsp olive oil and ¼ tsp each of dried basil, rosemary, and ground cumin. To this add ½ tsp chili powder and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Stir in the thawed edamame and mix well. Spread the edamame on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir after 6 to 8 minutes. Cool and serve.

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Lycopene Supreme
Lycopene is an antioxidant compound and pigment that gives tomatoes and certain other fruits and vegetables their color. Numerous studies have indicated that lycopene may protect against development of prostate cancer, and now there is also evidence that it can inhibit prostate growth and thus help prevent progression of benign prostatic hypertrophy. The best way to enjoy the benefits of lycopene is in processed or cooked tomato products, like this roasted tomato salsa, which goes great with raw veggies or pita chips.

To make roasted tomato salsa, preheat the broiler. In a baking dish, combine 12 plum or small tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion quartered, and 1 jalapeno chile pepper. Drizzle the veggies with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Broil the veggies for 5 to 10 minutes or until the outsides are charred. Discard the tomato skins, jalapeno stem and garlic skins. Place the veggies in a blender or food processor and chop until coarse. Place the chopped veggies in a bowl and add 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, ¼ tsp salt, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Add ¼ cup chopped red onion if desired.

A recent study from Oregon State University showed that beer may help prevent prostate cancer. This benefit is credited to hops, which contain xanthohumol, a substance that can slow the growth of cells that cause an enlarged prostate, as well as prompt cancer cells to die. The catch? Beer contains a very small amount of xanthohumol, so you would have to drink more than 17 beers to duplicate the effects scientists saw in their study. However, all is not lost. Drinking beer in moderation (up to 2 drinks daily) can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and vascular disease.

For those looking for a different beverage to enjoy during the Super Bowl, why not try pomegranate juice? Several studies show that pomegranate juice and extract can prompt prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (a process called apoptosis) as well as significantly prolong the progression of prostate cancer in men who have the disease. For a refreshing pomegranate punch, combine 2 cups of pomegranate juice, 4 cups of sparkling water, and the juice of one lemon. If you want punch with punch, add 6 to 8 ounces of vodka.

This Super Bowl Sunday, enjoy yourself and help keep your prostate healthy at the same time. That way, no matter who wins the Super Bowl, you’re guaranteed to be a winner.

Banudevi S et al. Clinica Chimica Acta 2010 Feb; 411(3-4): 172-78
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Schwarz S et al. Journal of Nutrition 2008 Jan; 138: 49-53