I would like to continue reviewing the importance of nutrition in prostate cancer. Our last post covered the use of vitamin E, selenium and green tea to prevent prostate cancer. These supplements can also be used to help a person fight an existing cancer or someone stop the return of their cancer after it has been treated.
Lycopene-rich foods contain bioflavonoids that have antioxidant activity. As mentioned in the last post, antioxidants prevent cell damage from free radicals. Lycopene has been found in prostate tissue and it has been suggested that these levels diminish as a man gets older. Hypothetically, it is possible that dropping lycopene levels can increase the chances of cell injury from free radicals which can lead to a cancer of the prostate. Lycopene-rich foods include tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, pink grape, apricots and papaya. Men should try to eat these foods on a regular basis.
Another food with antioxidant activity is pomegranate. Pomegranate juice has activity similar to the bioflavonoids found with lycopenes. Pomegranates are fruits about the size of an orange, first grown in the middle east. The fruit inside the outer shell contains the juice-filled sacs. Pomegranates taste like cranberries or sour cherries. A recent study examined the use of pomegranate juice in men with rising prostate specific antigen (PSA) after surgery or radiation. Men were given 8 ounces of a pomegranate cocktail daily. The researchers found that the pomegranate juice prolonged the PSA doubling time and decreased cell growth. In other words, pomegranate juice intake may help slow the progression of prostate cancer. With that in mind, this juice may help prevent prostate cancer.
There are many recipes in books and found on the internet that contain lycopenes and pomegranates. A recent book published by Reader's Digest called "Food Cures" has many such recipes. I encourage men to add these foods to their diet. They taste good and are healthy for you. Just picture this example: A 55-year-old male has a PSA of 3.3 ng/ml and a negative prostate biopsy changed his diet to include selenium, vitamin E, green tea, tomatoes and pomegranate juice. After 6 months he feels better, even lost 5 pounds and his PSA is only 2.1 ng/ml. Although not everyone may see the same benefits, this could be you!