prostate Cancer

Diet is key if you want to avoid prostate cancer.

Five times more men die of prostate cancer in the United States than in Japan. In fact, the incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer are significantly higher in the United States when compared to most Asian countries. Why The answer, as research suggests, can most likely be found in the diet and lifestyle differences found across the globe.

In general, Americans consume approximately 40 percent of total calories from fat, where fat intake in China and Japan is considerably lower, at 10 to 20 percent. The Asian diet is characteristically rich in fish and plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and soy foods, while the typical Western diet consists of significantly more processed, or 'convenience' foods, and animal products. Evidence overwhelmingly suggests that it is healthier to have a diet low in fat particularly saturated or animal fat, and high in fruits, vegetables, fibre, and soy protein.

Fat Facts

Fat has been studied more thoroughly and linked more frequently to cancer than any other factor in our diets. Studies of the vast cultural differences in diet first identified total fat intake as a factor directly associated with the incidence of prostate cancer. The incidence of prostate cancer has increased significantly in the 20th century right along with the increased intake of red meat and hidden fats in oils, margarine, butter, and processed baked goods.

Saturated Fats

While the evidence does support a diet that is on the whole low in fat - as low as 10 to 20 percent total calories from fatmore recent research suggests that the type of fat you consume can also make a difference. Several studies have found a direct association between saturated fat intake from meat and dairy products and prostate cancers. Saturated fats are animal in origin, such as fatty meats (i.e., beef, veal, pork, lamb), whole-milk dairy products, and butter. Even leaner animal products such as chicken or turkey can serve up a lot of saturated fat if you are choosing pieces with skin or dark meat.

Unsaturated Fats

On the other hand, unsaturated fats are derived mainly from plants and fish. The two types of unsaturated fats include monounsaturated fats, which include fats from olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and peanuts and polyunsaturated fats such as omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and fish and flax seeds. While all types of unsaturated fats have been shown to help cardiovascular health by lowering levels of LDL or 'bad' cholesterol in the blood, laboratory tests have suggested that trying to increase omega-3 fatty acids while decreasing sources of omega-6 fatty acids can help control stimulation of tumour growth in prostate cancer.

Trans-Fatty Acids

Trans-fatty acids are unsaturated fats that have been chemically modified to become saturated and seem to carry the same risks as saturated fats where cancer and heart disease are concerned. These fats are found mostly in margarine and processed snacks or baked goods, which list partially hydrogenated oil as one of the first ingredients on the food label. Overall, in the fight against prostate cancer, your goal should be to lower the total fat in your diet - specifically saturated fats, omega-6 fatty-acids and trans-fats, while incorporating some omega-3 fatty acids for their potential protective effects.

Here are some tips for lowering your fat intake:

  • Eliminate fried foods. Use low-fat cooking methods. Use cooking spray or a nonstick pan instead of oil. Grill, broil, roast, or poach fish and poultry. Trim all visible fat before cooking.
  • Choose only low-fat or fat-free dairy products. A low-fat product means there is no more than 3g of fat per serving and a fat free product has no more than gram of fat per serving.
  • Eliminate fatty meats like hot dogs, marbled meats and dark meat poultry. Try and limit consumption of red meat to no more than once per week or once per month - or simply avoid these meats altogether.
  • Eliminate fatty foods like cream sauces, poultry skin, cream soups, nuts, chocolates, gravies.
  • Choose tomato-based sauces and soups instead of cream varieties
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