Many doctors are quick to test for prostate cancer, but unfortunately few tell their patients how to prevent prostate cancer from developing in the first place. Since June is National Men’s Health Month, I thought it was a good time to shed some light on three foods that can help to keep your prostate healthy.
1. Lycopene-rich foods found primarily in cooked tomatoes (tomato paste), watermelons, and pink grapefruit, have been shown to reduce PSA levels (the glycoprotein that becomes elevated if the prostate enlarges), and slows the growth of prostate cancer.
2. Flaxseed can be instrumental in reversing pre-cancer of the prostate gland. In a study at Duke University Medical Center, researchers placed 15 men with suspected early-stage prostate cancer on a low-fat diet that included 30 grams of flaxseed a day. All of the men were scheduled to undergo repeat prostate biopsy. At the six-month point, PSA levels completely normalized in two of the men, and no biopsy was deemed necessary. The other 13 men also saw significant decreases in their PSA levels—and only one was suspected of having cancer following his biopsy.
Unfortunately, few men with suspected prostate cancer are told just how beneficial it can be to quickly switch to a low-fat diet (20 percent or less of total calories) and begin supplementation with flaxseed (30 grams a day). This simple, inexpensive program can often reduce the growth rate and aggressiveness of the tumor in a relatively short time. Even patients awaiting prostatectomy have seen positive results. In just over 30 days, men who make these simple changes have experienced significant drops in cholesterol, testosterone, and PSA levels.
3. Pomegranate juice. At the University of California at Los Angeles, researchers discovered that pomegranate juice can have a significant effect on the recurrence of prostate cancer. The study involved 46 prostate cancer patients who underwent surgery or radiation treatment. Those whose PSA levels were detectable following treatment were given 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily. The pomegranate juice prolonged the time it took for PSA levels to double in these men by almost fourfold. The doubling time went from an average of 15 months to 54 months, which is nothing short of amazing.
This study clearly indicates that pomegranate juice can inhibit the progression and growth of active prostate cancer. It didn’t focus on actual prevention, or on the use of pomegranate juice as a cure for prostate cancer. However, based on other research studies I would have no problem recommending its use as part of a program to prevent prostate cancer. And while it might on its own be an agent that could cure prostate cancer, again I would certainly recommend it as part of an overall program.