Originally published February 18 2009
Prevent Prostate Cancer Naturally with the Mediterranean Diet
by Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
(NaturalNews) According to the American Cancer Society, close to 190,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the United States yearly. Approximately one man in six will be found to have the disease during his life and about one out of 35 will die from prostate cancer. In fact, prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in American men, second only to lung cancer. But evidence is mounting there's a way men can take action to lower this high risk of prostate cancer. And the key isn't a new drug, hormone therapy or prophylactic surgery -- instead, it's a natural diet featuring mouth-watering dishes like roasted root vegetables, tabbouleh with parsley, lima bean spread with cumin, spinach sauteed in olive oil with pine nuts, whole-wheat couscous pilaf and roasted eggplant with feta dip.
A research review just published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research (Volume 53, Issue 2) by urology experts Allison Hodge, MD, and Catherine Itsiopoulos, MD, outlines a host of evidence that associates a reduced risk of prostate cancer with a traditional Mediterranean style diet (also called a Cretan diet) featuring dishes like those listed above. While the typical American diet is loaded with processed foods, lots of meat and dairy products, Mediterranean meals are built around a variety of plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, nuts and legumes.
In their paper, Dr. Hodge and Dr. Itsiopoulos point out that olive oil is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. There is also a low intake of red meat, moderate to low use of dairy products, moderate to high amounts of fish and moderate drinking of wine, primarily consumed with meals. The researchers note that this traditional way of eating among the Greeks and other Mediterranean people provides adequate fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats.
In a statement to the media, the researchers concluded this dietary approach "is consistent with what humans have evolved to consume and may protect against common chronic diseases, including prostate cancer". They also pointed out that numerous studies show the Mediterranean eating style has other health benefits -- including a reduction in death rates from all causes, including cardiovascular and cancer deaths, as well as a decreased incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
Fortunately, adopting a Mediterranean way of eating isn't difficult. The Mayo Clinic web site suggests choosing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables when you go grocery shopping and stocking up on nuts such as walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts and almonds for snacks or to add to salads. Eliminate or keep to a minimum your intake of red meat and aim to eat fish at least once a week. Avoid frying or using heavy sauces. Instead, use healthy oils like olive oil and canola oil.
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About the authorSherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.
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