According to Barbara Quinn, a nutritionist working at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, prostate cancer could be kept at bay by following a diet rich in red vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, apricots, guavas, and watermelons.
It turns out that the benefits of red vegetables might be attributed to the fact that they have a high concentration of lycopene – a reddish pigment responsible for giving color to vegetables and fruits.
Lycopene has been associated with a reduction of the prostate-specific antigen; also known as PSA, this protein is made by cells of the prostate gland. What’s more, this kind of fruits also includes nutrients that can contribute to the fight against cancer.
The National Cancer Institute confirmed there is a connection between the high levels of PSA and the development of prostate cancer. Researchers have performed blood tests to study the PSA levels and to determine how they react to the progression of the disease in men.
Then, Barbara Quinn, the nutritionist, explained that lycopene seems to be less effective when eaten via supplements, thus leaving men the alternative of consuming red vegetables in abundance.
One of the theories suggests cooking these vegetables with healthy fat so the body can absorb it in a better way. A very strong of lycopene is eating tomatoes prepared in olive oil, compared to raw tomatoes.
Red vegetables also have a high concentration of vitamin D, which is yet another amazing nutrient that can work along against prostate cancer. According to the NCI, the ‘hormone-like’ vitamin could protect the cells present in the prostate gland.
The National Cancer Institute also said prostate cancer is the leading form of cancer among men countrywide, next to skin cancer. But experts are still unsure about the effect of nutrition on a man’s risk for prostate cancer.
Either way, several nutrition interventions have shown promise in preventing and treating this form of cancer. For example, some evidence suggests that a vegetarian diet may also have some protective effects against prostate cancer.
Previous research has attempted to find the role of nutrition in the disease’s development, but the field is relatively new. However, the association between high PSA and this form of cancer will allow doctors to predict the outcome before the decision to treat a patient with surgery.
Having high levels of PSA doesn’t always mean cancer; the prostate may be either inflamed, infected or enlarged. Further tests — such as a biopsy — are required for a diagnosis.
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