Eat Vegetables to beat prostate cancer

Eating vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage can cut spread of disease by more than half

  • Researchers followed 1,000 men with early prostate cancer for many years 
  • Men who ate eggs appeared to have twice the risk of the cancer spreading 
  • Hormones in dairy products can also speed up growth of sensitive tumours
  • Broccoli, cabbage and kale can cut cancer progression by more than half

Eating a varied plant-based diet (file photo) – and avoiding all meat, fish, chicken and dairy products – could cut the risk of cancer progression

With this in mind, a group of researchers at the University of Massachusetts did a study on prostate cancer patients who agreed to get only half their protein from plant sources.

Happily, this half-vegan diet did, indeed, appear to slow down the growth of the cancer. Instead of doubling in size within 21 months, their tumours took 58 months to grow to the same dimensions. So, even tweaking your daily diet is well worth the effort.

Half a serving a day of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or kale, for instance, can cut the risk of cancer progression by more than half.

For another study, a research team recruited 93 men with prostate cancer who had chosen not to undergo conventional treatment.

One group wasn’t given any diet or lifestyle advice. The other was prescribed a strict diet centred on fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans, and told to walk 30 minutes a day. Cancer progression was then tracked using PSA levels (a protein in the blood).

So, what happened? In the people who did nothing, PSA levels increased by 6 per cent in a year. That’s what cancer tends to do: grow over time.

But among the healthy-living group, PSA levels decreased by 4 per cent, suggesting their tumours were shrinking.

A year after the study ended, the cancers in the control group patients had grown so much that 10 per cent of them needed to have surgery.

By contrast, none in the plant-based diet and lifestyle group ended up on the operating table.

Other research has shown that the blood of people on plant-based diets are able to fight cancer eight times better than the blood of people on a typical Western diet.

But, hang on — what if the benefits are down to exercise?

To find out, a research team compared three groups of men: a plant-based diet and exercise group, an exercise-only group and a group of sedentary people eating standard fare.

Would people who exercise hard enough and for long enough develop cancer-fighting abilities that rival that of strolling plant-eaters?

To find out, blood from each of the groups was dripped onto human prostate cancer cells growing in a petri dish.

Well, the blood of the sedentary lot wasn’t completely defenceless. Even if you’re a chip-eating couch potato, your blood may still be able to kill off 1–2 per cent of cancer cells.

But the blood of those who had exercised strenuously for 15 years killed 2,000 per cent more cancer cells than the blood of the couch potatoes — a fantastic result.

Even better, though, was the blood of those in the plant-based diet and moderate exercise group, which wiped out an astounding 4,000 per cent more cancer cells than that of the blood of the couch potatoes.

In other words, thousands of hours in the gym appeared to be no match for a plant-based diet.

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