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Plant-based diet ‘slows progress of prostate cancer’

More evidence that fruit and vegetables may have a key role to play in tackling the disease

Posted : 13 May 2024

Apart from surgery and ongoing treatment, there are several things to make sure you have plenty of when you have cancer. Less stress. More rest. Plenty of fresh air and exercise. Good people to support you and talk to. And heaps of plant-based food.

Scientists at the University of California have discovered that eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, legumes and pulses can slow the progression of prostate cancer. With more than 52,000 diagnoses in the UK every year, it is the most common cancer to affect men in this country.

Looking at US data already collected in the CaPSURE study (Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor), the researchers assessed the diets of 2,062 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer – meaning it hadn’t yet spread – over the course of 12 years. Of that cohort, 190 experienced some sort of progression in the disease in that time.

The men had been asked to keep track of the foods they ate and, using their data, the researchers separated them into groups according to how much, or how little, plant-based food they consumed. The men whose diets were highest in fruit and vegetables were found to be almost half as likely (47 per cent) to see their prostate cancer progress as the men who rarely ate them.

“Our findings align with previous reports that plant-based diets may improve prostate cancer outcomes,” the researchers said. They cited explanations such as the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in fruit and vegetables, as well as their high fibre content, which regulates blood sugar and means people feel fuller for longer.

This isn’t the first time a planet-friendly diet has been shown also to be a prostate-friendly one. In 2016, again in California, researchers at the Loma Linda University used the data of clean-living vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists to show that eating greener can cut the risk of developing prostate cancer by more than a third. In 2022, meanwhile, back in Blighty, a ten-year analysis of 40 to 70-year-olds showed the risk of developing cancer is 14 per cent lower for vegetarians than it is for people who eat meat more than five days a week.

Read the study

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