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Men who consume colorful diet have less prostate cancer risk


Colorful foods have been found to protect against prostate cancer. Photo credit – University of South Australia

CANCER DIGEST – March 10, 2023 – In a first of its kind research analyzing micronutrients in blood, researchers have found that a colorful diet rich in fruits and vegetables may be the best way to prevent prostate cancer.


The study led by Drs. Varinderpal Dhillon, Permal Deo and Michael Fenech of the University of South Australia compared micronutrient levels in blood among 116 men with prostate cancer and 132 similar men who did not have prostate cancer. The study was published in the March 9, 2023 journal Cancers.


They looked at blood levels of nutrients such as lutein, lycopene, and carotenoids alpha-and beta-carotene. Such nutrients are found in egg yolk, tomatoes, spinach, kale, corn, grapes, kiwi, zucchini, squash and other vegetables and fruits.


The results showed that men with lower than 0.25 micrograms per milliliter of lycopene and or lower than 120 micrograms of selenium have an increased risk of prostate cancer, and are likely to more sensitive to damage from radiation therapy.


“Our recommendation is to adopt a Mediterranean diet enlisting the help of a dietician because people absorb nutrients in different ways, depending on the food, the digestive system, the person’s genotype and possibly their microbiome,” Dr Deo said in a press release.


According to Harvard’s The Nutrition Source, "Selenium is an essential component of various enzymes and proteins, called selenoproteins, that help to make DNA and protect against cell damage and infections; these proteins are also involved in reproduction and the metabolism of thyroid hormones."


Selenium is found in breads, cereals, poultry, red meat and eggs. Lycopene is a plant nutrient that gives foods such as tomatoes, red peppers, pink grapefruit, and watermelon their red color.


Both selenium and lycopene have been linked to reduced prostate cancer risk in previous studies, but this is the first study to look at the micronutrients levels in the blood of prostate cancer patients and compare them the blood levels of similar men without cancer.



Sources: University of South Australia press release, Cancers, and Harvard’s newsletter The Nutrition Source

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