Roughly 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Most people believe that developing cancer is based on misfortune, but that’s not always the case. Studies show that habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and not smoking are all factors in living a cancer-free life. Each type of cancer has a few different health guidelines, but nutrition always plays a large part. For prostate cancer, the focus is on a primarily plant based diet with a high amount of fiber.
Obviously, fruits and vegetables are good for the human body, but there is consistent evidence that diets high in these foods are associated with decreased risks of many cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, the benefits of fruits and vegetables in regards to cancer protection may be related to high amounts of carotenoids. Carotenoids are the pigments that give fruits and vegetables such as carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potato, and kale their vibrant orange, yellow, and green colors, and act as antioxidants.
Another benefit of a plant-based diet is the high amount of naturally occurring fiber in these foods. Our bodies are filled with toxic compounds and carcinogens from many different outside forces. These can include pesticides, industrial chemicals, pollution, and chemicals found in consumer products like cosmetics and furniture. It’s nearly impossible to avoid every single toxic compound and carcinogen, but fiber may bind to these harmful compounds that are then later eliminated from the body. A high-fiber diet also works to reduce hormone levels that may be involved in the progression of prostate cancer.
These seem like simple solutions, but it can be difficult to make diet changes if you’ve been eating the same meat and potatoes meal your entire life. You should consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to receive their cancer protective effects. One serving equates to a half cup of produce or 6 fluid ounces of fruit or vegetable juice. If you have a glass of juice, like V8, with every meal, you’ll be over half-way through your daily goal!
Chances are you already eat a good amount of fiber during the day, but you might not be eating the right kind. Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber a day from breads made from whole grains. These should have whole or sprouted grain flour listed as the first ingredient. Avoid grains made with white flour or unbleached white flour. This is true for pasta and rice as well- always go for the whole grain!
While changing your diet is a great first step towards a cancer-free life, there is no substitute for annual medical check-ups, because early detection is the best kind!
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