Prostate cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in men, with approximately 900,000 new cases per year worldwide. In Spain alone, more than 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, according to data from the Spanish Association Against Cancer. Dr. Jordi Postius, specialist in Urology and Andrology, talks about the importance of nutrition to prevent this type of cancer.
Why is there a higher incidence of prostate cancer?
Most cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 80, with a higher incidence between the ages of 70 and 75. Increasingly, however, new cases are being diagnosed after the age of 45. There are major differences between more and less developed countries. In less developed countries, prostate cancer is the sixth most common tumor, after lung, stomach, liver, esophagus and colon cancer. However, in developed countries its frequency has increased very rapidly in the last decade, and it is the most common cancer among men, mainly due to poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle (lack of regular physical exercise).
What are the risk factors?
At present we can say that there are a series of risk factors that have a direct relationship with prostate cancer, some of them are:
- Race: there are large variations in incidence depending on the area of the world. This is probably also linked to the type of diet in each geographic region. – Heredity-genetics: it is estimated that 10% of prostate cancer cases have a hereditary component.
- Advanced age
- Hormones: the misuse of hormones such as testosterone.
- Obesity and sedentary lifestyle with lack of regular physical exercise and poor diet.
How does diet influence prostate cancer?
There is increasing scientific evidence that physical exercise and a healthy diet are fundamental in the prevention of prostate cancer, and cancer in general. Men who are concerned about their prostate health should follow general dietary guidelines to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Our recommendations for a “Healthy Life” consist basically of: a diet with a high content of fruits, vegetables and cereals (for their high vitamin content, such as Vitamin E and Beta-carotene, which protect us from prostate cancer), avoiding saturated fats (pastries or industrial sausages), reducing the consumption of red meat, avoiding flour and refined sugars, reducing the consumption of alcohol, avoiding overweight and obesity, regular physical exercise and not smoking.
What foods can reduce the incidence of prostate cancer?
In our regular diet we should include: Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and green tea (one or two infusions a day). Some protective foods against prostate cancer are:
- Lycopenes: fundamentally present in tomatoes, red peppers, watermelons and persimmons.
- Pomegranate juice: it has a great antioxidant power.
- Flax seeds: slow the rate at which cancer cells multiply in men with prostate cancer.
- Selenium: is a great antioxidant preventing the development of prostate tumors. The foods richest in selenium are: Brazil nuts, fish, whole grains, vegetables, chicken, turkey and seafood.
- Soy: contains isoflavones, genistein, related to the prevention of prostate cancer, especially germinated soybeans.
- Foods rich in Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency has been related to the appearance of prostate tumors. The foods that provide us with the most vitamin D are fish, including cod, tuna, salmon, bonito, mackerel and herring. – Foods rich in Vitamin E: especially products such as olive oil, almonds, spinach, avocado and cereals.