Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer
A study in Spain found that men who adhered to the Mediterranean diet had a reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer (PC) compared to those who followed the Prudent or Western diets. The Mediterranean eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, boiled potatoes, legumes, fish and olive oil.
While PC is the second leading type of cancer afflicting men, very little evidence links it to dietary or environmental risk factors. An earlier study found that the Mediterranean diet may cut breast cancer risk, but prior research examining the effects of diet on PC has been inconclusive.
“Our results show that a diet oriented towards the prevention of aggressive tumors in the prostate should probably include important elements of the Mediterranean diet such as fish, legumes and olive oil, and suggest that a high intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains might not be enough,” said lead investigator Beatriz Perez-Gomez, PhD, Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Center for Epidemiology, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Madrid).
PC occurs when cells start multiplying uncontrollably in the prostate gland, which is located in the male reproductive organs. Aggressive PC denotes a malignancy that is more likely to spread quickly outside the gland. Men with the aggressive forms have a higher risk of death within 10 years.
Only Mediterranean Diet Linked to Lower Risk
In the new study, the researchers analyzed data from a Spanish case-control study that involved men with a mean age of 66; 1,229 of the men were healthy, while 733 had PC. The team collected dietary information and evaluated adherence to three dietary patterns seen in the population of Spain: Mediterranean, Western and Prudent.
Like the typical American diet, the Western diet is comprised of large amounts of refined grains, fatty dairy products, processed meat, sweets, fast food and high-caloric beverages. Much healthier, the Prudent diet consists of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, low-fat dairy products and juices. The Mediterranean diet is similar to the Prudent, but it includes fish, legumes and olive oil and is low in juices.
Only a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet was linked to a reduced risk of aggressive PC. The other two dietary patterns didn’t result in a lower risk for either aggressive or less-aggressive prostate tumors.
Dietary Recommendation: Follow Whole Mediterranean Diet Rather Than Individual Foods
“If other researchers confirm these results, the promotion of the Mediterranean dietary pattern might be an efficient way of reducing the risk of developing advanced PC, in addition to lowering the risk of other prevalent health problems in men such as cardiovascular disease. Dietary recommendations should take into account whole patterns instead of focusing on individual foods,” said co-author Adela Castelló. Ph.D., Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Center for Epidemiology, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Madrid).
The fact that the Prudent diet didn’t reduce the risk of PC was interesting because it is rich in the nutrition dense foods of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, all of which are important elements of the Mediterranean diet. Yet the findings suggest the addition of fish, legumes and olive oil made the difference. It appears that following the Mediterranean diet in its entirety is the key to a lower risk of PC.
The study was published in the Journal of Urology.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.