FOODS THAT MAY HELP PREVENT PROSTATE CANCER: FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Many anthropologists believe that our ancestors were mostly vegetarians. Our teeth are designed primarily for plant-based foods, and our intestinal tract is long, which allows for the slow digestion of plant foods that are high in fiber, as opposed to the short digestive tract that is necessary to process meat and to get rid of the resulting toxic wastes hastily. "Populations who eat plant-based diets have a markedly reduced incidence of chronic ills, most notably cancer and heart disease," says Clare Hasler of the University of Illinois.
It is unfortunate that former President Bush expressed a dislike for broccoli. Broccoli and all its vegetable kin—Brussels sprouts, mustard, kale, and collard greens—have an extraordinary power to fight cancer. These cabbage-family vegetables contain potent chemicals called indoles that block harmful carcinogens before they do their dirty work. Brussels sprouts can also help us enhance the natural ability of our bodies to resist cancer-causing agents. This will not only help the prostate but all of the vital body parts.
It appears that vegetables such as these stimulate production of glutathione's transferase, a catalyst that is involved in chemical reactions. Asians tend to eat more broccoli and related types of vegetables than do Americans, which could also contribute to their low rate of prostate cancer.
Fruits and vegetables are delicious as well as nutritious. Their variety is almost limitless. In my case, if anything saves me from putting on weight it is the fact that I use foods from this group as a snack. Many Americans, trying to lose weight to protect their hearts as well as to improve their appearance, are continually on and off fad diets when they could be losing weight by eating sensibly from the basic four food groups (meat and meat alternates; fruits and vegetables; breads and cereals; nonfat dairy products) and cutting down on foods high in fat and low in nutrients. When you feel the urge to eat, try some apples, pears, carrots, celery, or other foods from this group. They will satisfy your appetite and provide your body with premium fuel.
Other studies disclosed that those who ate more folate-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop colon cancer. Even among animals, those that are deprived of folic acid face a threefold to fourfold increased risk of colon rectal tumors.
Pectins These may help to prevent prostate cancer. Pectin is a coagulating carbohydrate found in the skins of apples, citrus, and other fruits and vegetables. Researchers fed a group of rats with prostate tumors a modified citrus pectin drink, and they fed another group pure water; they observed a 50 percent reduction in the spread of the cancer to the lungs in the pectin group. The experiment made use of a form of the carbohydrate produced in the laboratory, which is not now available to the public. Still, pectin can also lower cholesterol levels considerably—cholesterol, as you will see later, may increase a man's susceptibility to prostate cancer.
Tomatoes. A Harvard study of the eating habits of 47,000 men over a period of six years found that those who had at least ten servings of tomato-based foods a week were up to 45 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer. Most of the protection came from eating spaghetti sauce, said Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the 1 larva e I School of Public Health; pizza, which includes layers of tomato sauce, also helped. Tomatoes are the best source of a carotenoid called lycopene, and they are also rich in phytochemicals.
Lycopene may act to block the initiation of the cancerous process. This natural molecule gives tomatoes their red color—the redder the better. Interestingly, earlier studies revealed that prostate cancer is less common in southern Mediterranean countries, such as Italy and Greece, where tomato-based foods are a major part of the diet. Phytochemicals work by disrupting the chemical wedding between two common molecules in cells—a union that can produce a carcinogen. Every slice of tomato and every bite of apricot contains thousands of them. Strawberries, pineapples, and green peppers are also rich in phytochemicals.
Garlic Long recommended as a food to help patients who have coronary artery disease and to avoid a fatal heart attack, garlic is now gaining recognition as a food that will help to ward off prostate cancer. Certain chemicals in garlic, according to recent new studies, show promising results in actually slowing the growth of prostate cancer cells—at least in a test tube.
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