Men who incorporate a higher overall ratio of plant-based foods and herbs into their diets can help cut their risk of developing aggressive prostate cancers by at least 25 percent compared to other men, suggests a new University of South Carolina (USC) study. According to the research, which was compiled using data collected on participants in the North Carolina – Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project, antioxidants known as flavonoids are a key, cancer-fighting class of components found in plant-based foods that helps thwart the onset of cancer.
Presented at the recent International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in Anaheim, California, the study included data on 920 African-American men and 977 Caucasian men, all of whom had been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Each of the men filled out questionnaires about food intake, and Susan Steck and her colleagues from USC’s Arnold School of Public Health compiled this information and made comparisons about each of the men’s health conditions in correlation with their diets.
Upon analysis, Steck and her team found that younger men below the age of 65 as well as smokers who consume flavonoid-rich foods such as citrus fruits, tea, grapes, onions, strawberries, and cooked greens have a significantly lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancers compared to men who do not eat these foods. And those who eat a diverse array of such foods rather than honing in on just one or two, fare even better in the cancer prevention department.
“Incorporating more plant-based foods and beverages, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea, into the diet may offer some protection against aggressive prostate cancer,” said Steck in a recent press release about the findings. “Filling your plate with flavonoid-rich foods is one behavior that can be changed to have a beneficial impact on health.”
“We found that higher total flavonoid intake was associated with reduced odds for aggressive prostate cancer in both African-American and European-American men, but no individual subclass of flavonoids appeared to be protective independently, suggesting that it is important to consume a variety of plant-based foods in the diet, rather than to focus on one specific type of flavonoid or flavonoid-rich food.”
A similar study involving flavonoids and cancer risk out of Harvard Medical School (HMS) was also presented at the conference. Dr. Susanne M. Henning, Ph.D., and her colleagues from HMS evaluated the effects of taking green tea for prostate cancer prevention and found that men who consume green tea have proportionally lower levels of circulating prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which are markers commonly attributed to the onset of prostate cancer.
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