A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association shows that dairy products may increase the risk of prostate cancer but plant-based diets may decrease that risk. Mayo Clinic researchers based their findings on previous studies that examined the link between certain diets and prostate cancer risk.
“Our review highlighted a cause for concern with high consumption of dairy products. The findings also support a growing body of evidence on the potential benefits of plant-based diets.” said lead author John Shin, a cancer specialist at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Plant-based diets reduce prostate cancer risk
The researchers analyzed more than 40 studies that comprised more than one million participants to see whether prostate cancer risk is associated with plant- and animal-based foods. The team found that dairy products are the leading source of calcium in Western countries, where rates of prostate cancer are high. Conversely, Asian countries eat fewer dairy products and have lower rates of prostate cancer.
The researchers explained that calcium can halt the formation of a form of vitamin D called calcitriol, which could otherwise reduce the spread of prostate cancer cells. However, the team did not specify how much dairy per person can increase their risk of the disease.
The authors also found that plant-based foods are associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer but did not find a significant association between prostate cancer risk and other animal-based foods, such as white meat and fish. The authors recommended further research with randomized controlled trials using standardized methods for collecting data to better account for other factors, such as race and age. (Related: Prostate cancer breakthrough: Combination of three plant-based nutrients found to MELT AWAY prostate cancer cells.)
Other studies also showed that plant-based foods can help protect against prostate cancer. In one study, Japanese researchers examined the dietary records of more than 35,000 men between the age of 40 and 79. They found that those who ate mushrooms three or more times a week had a 17 percent lower risk of prostate cancer compared to those who had less than one serving a week.
In a study of 93 patients with early stages of prostate cancer, one group was assigned to eat a plant-based diet and practice other lifestyle interventions, including regular exercise and stress management, while a control group continued their usual diet and lifestyle. After two years, 27 percent of the control group had to undergo conventional treatment for prostate cancer compared to only 5 percent in the group who had the plant-based diet.
Plant-based foods to reduce cancer risk
Add more of the following plant-based foods to your diet to prevent cancer: (h/t to Healthline.com)
- Two servings daily of tomatoes – Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect against cancer.
- Two servings daily of cruciferous vegetables – These vegetables are rich in anti-cancer compounds like isothiocyanates. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, kale, horseradish, cauliflower and turnips.
- At least one serving daily of carotenoid-rich foods – Carotenoids are a family of antioxidants found in orange, carrot, sweet potato, cantaloupe, winter squash and dark green vegetables.
- One to two servings daily of whole grains – Whole-grain foods include quinoa, oatmeal, barley, millet, brown rice and buckwheat.
- At least one serving daily of beans or legumes – Beans and legumes are rich in protein and low in fat. These foods include soybeans and soybean products, lentils, peanuts, chickpeas and carob.
Consume more of these foods and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer. Read more cancer prevention tips at PreventCancer.news.