Recipes for prostate cancer

What to Eat for a Healthy Prostate Cancer Diet

If you have prostate cancer, try to eat at least 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Gary Burchell/Getty Images

The best diet to follow for good health probably won’t surprise you: low in fat and calories; rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and focused on “real” foods rather than processed ones. While these same guidelines apply to men who have prostate cancer, your diet and how you prepare food may be even more important to your health after your diagnosis.

Here are some tips on how to plan prostate-healthy meals.

What’s a Prostate Cancer Diet?

The truth is, there’s no specific diet that will help you prevent or treat prostate cancer, according to sources such as the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). That said, good nutrition may be associated with a lower risk of developing cancer, along with reduced risk of the disease progressing after a diagnosis.

However, the research is still out on whether your diet can really impact prostate cancer risk and prognosis. Steven Canfield, MD, the chief of urology for McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, says that while there have been a lot of studies looking at specific diets for p­­rostate cancer, they haven’t been very revealing. “Unfortunately,” he says, “none of them have really panned out to show any significant prevention.”

But he adds an exception: “It does seem to be that what’s good for your heart is good for your prostate.”

The UCSF cancer center developed diet guidelines for prostate cancer that recommend plentiful intake of a wide variety of vegetables and whole grains, healthy sources of protein (like beans, fish, and skinless poultry), and healthy fats (such as from olive oil, nuts, and avocado).

If these diet recommendations sound a lot like the Mediterranean Diet, your instincts are right: There’s evidence that this food plan helps lower risk of death from prostate cancer.

Most of these guidelines, says June M. Chan, ScD, a professor of epidemiology and statistics in the department of urology at UCSF, are for men starting out with a diagnosis of localized stage 1 or 2 prostate cancer.

Eat fruits and greens. Get at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, including lots of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. And add plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits, such as berries, cherries, plums, red grapes, and prunes.

Another healthy option for men with prostate cancer: cooked tomatoes. Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which is more readily available for the body to absorb when cooked.

UCSF recommends you eat at least 5 — better yet, 10 — servings of fruits and vegetables every day. What’s a serving? A half cup of fruit or vegetables, a cup of raw leafy greens, or a quarter cup of dried fruit or vegetables.

Substitute fish and plants for meat. All people with cancer, including those with prostate cancer, will benefit from a plant-based diet — getting your protein primarily from beans, nuts, flaxseed, and low-fat dairy products.

In particular, eat less beef, pork, and lamb. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2013 shows a link between death by any cause following a diagnosis of prostate cancer and consuming saturated fat from meat and dairy products, adding that it’s wise to reduce or completely cut out red meat, whole milk, and other dairy products, like butter, mayonnaise, and certain salad dressings. Instead, add flavor to salads and other dishes using lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and salsa. Also, hold back on cheese.

If fish isn’t already a staple in your diet, consider this: Men who eat a lot of cold-water fish have a lower risk of prostate cancer. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in November 2010 found that men who ate a diet high in fish were 44 percent less likely to develop metastatic prostate cancer and 63 percent less likely to die from the disease. Fish with beneficial omega-3 fatty acid content include salmon, white canned tuna, sardines, farmed trout, and mackerel.

Use healthier oils and lighter cooking methods. Cook meals using canola oil or olive oil in place of saturated fats, such as butter or vegetable shortening. How you cook matters, too — use low-fat cooking methods such as broiling or baking rather than frying.

Skip grilling. Cooking meat at high temperatures like grilling produces a carcinogen called PhIP. If you do prepare meats on the grill, turn the meat often to minimize the char buildup (blackened areas).

How to Adjust to the Dietary Needs of the Person With Prostate Cancer

While these general recommendations ensure a healthy diet, you can play with which foods you choose and how you prepare them so that your meals are appealing and flavorful while also meeting your dietary needs.

Curb weight loss. If you’re losing your appetite and losing weight, think again about what you’re cooking and how you’re preparing food. Experiment with seasoning foods differently so they taste better, or adding sauces and herbs to mask certain flavors. And cook with higher-calorie ingredients that don’t require eating large portions to meet caloric needs.

Manage fiber intake for diarrhea relief. Loose stools, bleeding from the rectum, and loss of control over bowel movements happen to some men after getting external beam radiation treatments for prostate cancer. Several foods can help if this happens to you. Choose fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The Prostate Cancer Foundation says it’s a bit of a balancing act when it comes to fiber, but recommends avoiding foods that might irritate your stomach while trying to keep up your consumption of fiber-rich foods to avoid getting constipated.

Should You Take Dietary Supplements for Prostate Cancer? Maybe Not

“One of the other developments in the last 5 to 10 years,” says Dr. Chan, “has been broader recognition that single supplements seem unlikely to offer a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer development.”

She cites the large national Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) in 2008 and 2011, which “provided no evidence that selenium or vitamin E supplements offer protection against the development of prostate cancer.” And furthermore, in December 2014, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published results of a study from the UCSF describing a greater risk of death from prostate cancer in men who started taking selenium dietary supplements after being diagnosed with the disease.

The bottom line: Healthy, balanced, and heart-healthy meals consisting of whole foods are the way to go when cooking for a man with prostate cancer.

Additional reporting by Andrea Peirce

Prostate cancer cookbook

Several newspapers have reported today on a cookbook of recipes to help prevent prostate cancer. Healthy Eating: The Prostate Care Cookbook was published in June in association with the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. The authors are reported to have called it the first example of “evidence-based cooking” and cite the growing evidence that diets rich in certain foods can help prevent prostate cancer and its spread.

Any book that promotes healthy eating should be welcomed and there is strong evidence that diet influences the risk of many cancers, including prostate cancer. However, the exact causes of prostate cancer are not well known at present. It is thought that age, ethnicity and a close family history of prostate cancer can affect risk.

Of the things that individuals can change for themselves, the World Cancer Research Fund says the best evidence shows that eating foods high in lycopenes, such as tomatoes, probably reduces risk. There is limited suggestive evidence that processed meat and dairy products can increase risk.

A press release about the book says that “a controlled diet can provide the most effective form of treatment”. This claim needs to be treated with caution. There are some effective forms of treatment for prostate cancer symptoms, including drugs, radiotherapy and surgery. The relative effectiveness of these treatments when compared to diet has not been tested by the researchers.

Where did the story come from?

The story is based on a presentation at the British Science Festival regarding a book entitled Healthy Eating: The Prostate Care Cookbook , published in June 2009. It was produced in association with the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation and written by Margaret Rayman, Professor of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey, as well as researchers Kay Gibbons and Kay Dilley. The book reportedly includes recipes from celebrity chefs Raymond Blanc and Antony Worrall Thompson.

What is in the book?

The 176-page book begins with a foreword by the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. An introduction of over 50 pages describes the scientific principles on which the choice of ingredients and recipe are based.

Featured foods include vegetables, fish, legumes and nutrients such as polyphenols, lycopene (from tomatoes), selenium, vitamin E and vitamin D. The rest of the book contains more than 100 recipes.

What does the University of Surrey press release say about this book?

Prostate cancer kills one man every hour in the UK. Tt is the second most common cancer globally after lung cancer, with over 670,000 diagnoses made each year. The researchers say there is scientific evidence of a link between prostate cancer and diet and a “growing awareness that eating the right foods can make all the difference”.

The press release claims that for those living with the condition “a controlled diet can provide the most effective form of treatment”. It discusses the best sources of polyphenols, selenium, vitamins D and E and why dairy products and certain fats can be detrimental to a person’s health.

Examples of recipes include Apricot and Brazil nut breakfast bars, and meat, fish and vegetarian dishes such as Caribbean pepper pot, Chilled tomato bisque, and Brazil nut, tomato and onion bread. Desserts include Pomegranate upside-down cake. The recipes state the key ingredients and the amount of saturated fat contained in each portion.

What does Cancer Research UK say about the evidence that foods can prevent prostate cancer?

CancerHelp UK, the patient information website provided by Cancer Research UK, says there has been a lot of interest in the prevention of prostate cancer in the past 10 years. The main points are that:

  • Countries that have a low fat and high vegetable intake in the diet have lower rates of prostate cancer. However, it is not certain whether this is directly due to fat intake. Studies are ongoing.
  • Lycopenes are chemicals found in tomatoes and may help to prevent prostate cancer. They are antioxidants and so may help to stop cell damage in the same way as antioxidant vitamins. All forms of tomatoes, including ketchup, contain lycopenes although the body may absorb lycopenes better if the tomatoes are processed or cooked. Some studies of lycopenes and prostate cancer have shown a reduction in risk but others have not.
  • Countries that have a high intake of soy in their diet tend to have much lower rates of prostate cancer (and other types of cancers) compared to countries where soy intake is low. This may be because of chemicals found in soy called phyto-oestrogens. Prostate cancer is less common in men in countries such as China and Japan where people eat much less fat, less red meat and have a soy-rich diet. However, because there are many other differences between Western and Chinese or Japanese populations, these findings do not conclusively prove that cutting down on fat or eating more soy lowers the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Selenium and vitamin E are antioxidant vitamins and minerals that may help to prevent cancer as part of a healthy, balanced diet. In theory, antioxidants help prevent body cells from being damaged by oxygen particles called free radicals. The damage can lead to the cells becoming cancerous. This theory was tested by a trial called the SELECT trial. However, the trial was stopped early because preliminary results showed that neither selenium nor vitamin E, taken alone or together, helped to prevent prostate cancer.
  • Stronger evidence is needed to prove that green tea helps to prevent cancer in humans.

What does the NHS Knowledge Service make of this book?

Any book that promotes healthy eating should be welcomed and there is strong evidence that diet influences the risk of many cancers, including prostate cancer. Unfortunately, the exact causes of prostate cancer are not well known at present. It is thought that age, ethnicity and a close family history of prostate cancer can affect your risk.

Of the things that individuals can change themselves, the World Cancer Research Fund says that the best evidence shows that eating foods high in lycopenes, such tomatoes, probably reduces risk and there is limited suggestive evidence that processed meat and dairy products can increase risk.

However, the claim that “a controlled diet can provide the most effective form of treatment” should be treated with some caution. There are some very effective treatments for the symptoms of prostate cancer including drugs, radiotherapy and surgery, which can all help prevent the spread of this disease. The relative effectiveness of these treatments when compared to diet has not been tested by the researchers.

The strength of the evidence presented in the book will need separate evaluation. Generally, observational studies showing a link between food and prostate cancer risk in healthy people provide weaker evidence than randomised controlled trials. There does not seem to be any good reason why a trial could not be designed to see if specific vitamins or foods do reduce complication rates in people who have the disease or not.

Analysis by Bazian
Edited by NHS Website

Links to the headlines

Scientists and chefs claim their recipes can help tackle prostate cancer.

The Times, 10 September 2009

New recipes to counter cancer.

Daily Express, 10 September 2009

Recipe book aims to ward off prostate cancer.

The Guardian, 10 September 2009

Scientists and chefs claim their recipes can help tackle prostate cancer.

The Times, 10 September 2009

Nutritionists’ cookbook to halt prostate cancer is revealed.

Daily Mail, 10 September 2009

Chefs write for cancer cookbook.

Daily Mirror, 10 September 2009

Broccoli and tomato ketchup could prevent prostate cancer

The Daily Telegraph, 10 September 2009

The recipe to beat prostate cancer.

The Independent, 10 September 2009

Links to the science

Eating for prostate health: The Prostate Care Cookbook

by Professor Margaret Rayman, Kay Gibbons and Kay Dilley

Further reading

Boehm K, Borrelli F, Ernst E, et al.

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3

Dennert G, Horneber M.

Selenium for alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery in cancer patients.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3

Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, Gluud LL, Simonetti RG, Gluud C.

Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2

Powerful anti-cancer nutrients are regularly being discovered in colorful fruit. Photo: Flikr.

When you’re being treated for prostate cancer, it’s more important than ever to eat healthy. Your body is working overtime to fight the cancer, while it’s performing double duty to repair healthy cells that may have been damaged as a side effect from treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. At the same time, many cancer treatments – especially chemotherapy – come with side effects that drain your strength and sap your appetite. Here are ideas on how to make sure you are getting all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need to keep a balanced diet increasing your odds of beating back prostate cancer.

  1. Limit your calorie intake. Excess calories are bad for cancer growth.
  2. Heart healthy is prostate healthy. Heart disease is the no. 1 killer, even in men with prostate cancer. Eat heart healthy foods of avocados, salmon, flaxseed, oatmeal, berries, dark chocolate with at least a 70% cacao content.
  3. Variety in the foods you eat is important. Don’t eat the same foods all the time.
  4. Remember supplements are supplements. They are not intended to replace a healthy diet. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements as they can interfere with cancer treatments effectiveness.
  5. A very healthy style of eating appearing to reduce the risk of prostate cancer is the Mediterranean diet. This way of eating is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, olive oil, and fish and low in red meat.
  6. Reduce animal fat in your diet. Studies show that excess fat, primarily red meat and high-fat dairy, stimulates prostate cancer to grow.
  7. Avoid foods high in trans fats known to promote cancer growth. Trans fats are found in margarines, microwave popcorn, fried and some baked foods.
  8. Increase fish intake, which is high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Ideally eat cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and trout at least two times each week. This fish should be poached, baked or grilled. Avoid fried fish.
  9. Significantly increase your intake of fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables each day. Powerful anticancer nutrients are regularly being discovered in colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds.
  10. Avoid high-calcium diets which have been shown to stimulate prostate cancer growth. No more than 1-2 servings each day is recommended.
  11. Increase your natural vitamin C consumption – this includes berries, citrus, spinach, cantaloupe, sweet peppers, and mango.
  12. Drink green tea several times each week.
  13. Avoid excess preserved, pickled, or salted foods.
  14. Eat red grapes, drink 100% grape juice or red wine regularly.
  15. Eat leafy dark-green vegetables frequently.
  16. Cruciferous vegetables are cancer protective. These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, collard greens, Brussel sprouts, and rutabagas.
  17. Tomatoes and especially tomato products are very high in lycopene, a powerful anticancer substance. This includes tomato sauce, tomato paste and ketchup.
  18. Use olive oil, which is very healthy and rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. Avocados are also a good source too.
  19. Check with your physician about taking a vitamin D3 supplement of 2000 IU daily. This can help strengthen the immune system to fight back cancer.
  20. Research has suggested that up to 4-5 cups of coffee a day may be associated with a reduced risk of overall prostate cancer and reduced incidences of fatal and high-grade prostate cancer.

Patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer can contact world renowned prostate cancer surgeon and urologic oncologist, Dr. David Samadi, for a free phone consultation and to learn more about prostate cancer risk, by calling 212-365-5000 or visiting prostatecancer911.com.

Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook.

Diet and Nutrition

Maintaining Good Nutrition During and After Treatment

Maintaining a healthy diet can help you prepare for and recover after cancer treatment. It may also help to prevent the prostate cancer from coming back.
Watching your weight may also reduce your risk of dying from prostate cancer. Recent studies have indicated that the risk of dying from prostate cancer is more than double in obese men diagnosed with the disease compared with men of normal weight at the time of diagnosis. Obese men with local or regional disease have been shown to have nearly four times the risk of their cancer spreading beyond the prostate or metastasizing.

Prostate cancer treatment may affect your appetite, eating habits, and weight, but it is important for you to maintain a healthy weight, get essential nutrients, and remain as physically active as possible.If you have difficulty eating due to side effects from treatment, there are ways to make eating more comfortable. Working with a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) can help make sure you are getting the nutrition you need.

Unfortunately it is possible for the side effects of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy to cause you to lose your appetite, eat less and lose weight. On the other hand, some treatments, such as androgen deprivation therapy may cause weight gain for some men.

, Prostate Cancer and Nutrition featuring Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, a nutrition educator from PearlPoint Nutrition Services℠.

Tips for Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

  • Maintain a healthy weight. For many men, this means avoiding weight loss by getting enough calories on a daily basis. For men who are overweight and are obese, this may mean losing some weight. If you are trying to lose weight, it should be moderate, meaning only about a pound a week.
  • Get essential nutrients the body needs, such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, such as carotenoids, and water. Not only will your body function better, you will feel better.
  • Be as active as you can, such as taking a daily walk. If you sit or sleep too much, you may lose muscle mass and increase your body fat, even if you are not gaining weight.

If you are struggling to eat enough or are eating too much, nutrition counseling may help you get essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals into your diet and maintain a healthy body weight. Ask your health care team for a referral to a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Dietitians and other members of the health care team work with people to meet their nutritional needs.

Side Effects and Nutrition

Cancer treatment often causes side effects, such as nausea, mouth sores, and taste changes that may make it difficult to eat or drink. Follow these tips to help you get the nutrition you need:

  • If water tastes unpleasant to you, take in more liquid though items such as soup, tea, milk or milk substitutes such as almond milk, or a sports drink. Or, flavor your water by adding fresh cut fruit.
  • If food tastes bland, try seasoning it with flavorful spices such as garlic, cayenne, dill, and rosemary.
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of trying to eat large amounts of food at one time.
  • Enhance your protein intake with protein from foods such as fish, egg whites, cheese, beans, or high protein smoothies.
  • Suck on mints, chew on gum, or try fresh citrus fruits if you have a metallic taste in your mouth. Brushing your teeth before eating, using plastic utensils, and cooking in glassware can also help.
  • If you have mouth sores or a gum infection, use a blender to make vegetables and meats smooth. Try juicing or making smoothies.Some side effects are often treated with medication, so talk with your doctor or another member of your health care team for more information.

Food Safety

People receiving cancer treatment need to be aware of food safety, because some treatments may weaken the immune system and lead to an infection. An infection occurs when harmful bacteria, viruses, or fungi, such as yeast, invade the body and the immune system is not able to destroy them quickly enough. Here are some basic food safety tips to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Wash your hands before and during the handling and preparing of food.
  • Wash vegetables and fruit thoroughly before eating them.
  • Handle and store food appropriately. For example, keep raw meat away from other foods when cooking.
  • Eat thoroughly cooked foods. For example, do not eat eggs that are not cooked solid, and do not eat raw fish, oysters, or shellfish.
  • Avoid drinking unpasteurized beverages, such as unpasteurized cider, raw milk, and fruit juices.
  • Make sure food you purchase is not past its “sell-by” or expiration date.

Nutrition After Cancer

Choosing to eat a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and other unprocessed, low-fat foods will help you regain strength after prostate cancer treatment. Nutritious eating can also reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, recent research suggests that making healthy food choices in your survivorship may lower your risk of recurrence and help you live longer. According to many experts, the types of foods recommended to help prevent prostate cancer are the same ones that protect against prostate cancer recurrence. These experts recommend eating plant-based foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), lean protein, and low-fat dairy products, and avoiding highly processed foods and red meats as much as possible.

Nutrition Consultations

PearlPoint Nutrition Services℠ offers free one-on-one nutrition consultations with a registered dietitian experienced in oncology nutrition. The nutrition educator can help cancer patients with healthy eating strategies and side-effect management. .

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Prostate Cancer Survivor Advocates Healthy Eating and Exercise

Arthur Fowle has never had a weight problem, so he used to eat whatever he wanted and didn’t worry about getting regular exercise. That was before he was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer at age 59. Now, after surgery and radiation treatment, Fowle sticks to a low-fat diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and he avoids red meat (beef, pork, and lamb). He works out at a gym 5 days a week. Increasingly, studies show that healthy eating and maintaining an active lifestyle after a cancer diagnosis can lower the chances of the cancer coming back.

Fowle said, “I can live with dying from prostate cancer. I cannot live without doing everything I can to live the healthiest and longest life possible.”

An aggressive cancer

Fowle’s prostate cancer was diagnosed through a biopsy in August 2007. His Gleason score was 8, meaning the cancer was likely to grow and spread quickly. His urologist recommended surgery, and Fowle wanted it done immediately, but it wasn’t scheduled until 2 months later. Fowle said waiting for the surgery was difficult. He said, “I learned it’s hurry up and wait. That was somewhat frustrating.”

The surgery to remove Fowle’s prostate went well, and he had few complications with his recovery. But about a year later, his PSA levels began to rise, an indication some prostate cancer cells remained in his body. He went through radiation treatments, which he tolerated well. His PSA dropped below 0.1, but about a year later, it began to rise again. Doctors decided to keep an eye on things for now through regular checkups before recommending further treatment.

Fowle said, “That was probably the worst time I ever went through because I knew enough to know I was stuck with this thing for the rest of my life. It was like a kick in the stomach.”

‘I had to do something’

In October 2010, after another disappointing PSA result, Fowle decided he couldn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself; he had to do something. He began reading books and articles about prostate cancer and talking to doctors and nutritionists.

He developed his own diet and exercise program and follows it faithfully. A typical breakfast is unsweetened whole-grain cereal with soy milk, berries, tea, fruit juice, and vegetable juice. A typical lunch is a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, and fruit and vegetable juice. For dinner, he eats grilled or baked chicken, turkey, or fish; fruit and vegetables; and water to drink. He avoids red meat, salt, sugar, and fried foods. He also takes several supplements, which he added to his diet after asking a hospital nutritionist about their risks and benefits.

Most days he lifts weights, gets cardio exercise on an elliptical machine, and practices yoga. He plays golf and goes to the driving range a few times a week.

Fowle said, “The minute I started this program it’s almost like overnight my entire attitude changed. I’d wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and feel I was doing something good for myself.”

The recipe to beat prostate cancer

Men at risk of prostate cancer can do something about it themselves by cooking with foods that are rich in potential anti-cancer agents, an academic nutritionist said today.

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Certain foods cooked in special recipes could have a significant effect on lowering the risk of developing cancer of the prostate, said Margaret Rayman, professor of nutritional medicine at the University of Surrey, citing broccoli, pak choi, rocket and watercress as examples.

There is convincing evidence to suggest that diet plays a leading role in determining whether men develop prostate cancer, and modifying the way food is cooked could help to lower the risk, Professor Rayman said.

“There is a growing body of scientific evidence that strongly suggests that diets rich in certain foods can help to prevent this disease or its spread,” she told the British Science Festival.

“There is evidence that eating certain foods in the appropriate quantity and with sufficient frequency can reduce the risk of prostate cancer or slow its progression.”

By preparing or cooking food in ways that do not destroy any natural anti-cancer ingredients, men with a family history of prostate cancer, or who are in remission, can also benefit from the psychological boost that cooking can give, she said.

“Consciously making changes to diet and lifestyle is associated with a positive, optimistic attitude and a feeling of being in control. This has long been known to improve the immune system and can therefore have a direct effect on how disease progresses.”

Allium vegetables, such as onion and garlic, are best prepared by leaving them for 10 minutes after chopping them up before heating them in a pan, she suggested.

This allows an enzyme called alliinase, which is destroyed by heating, to work on sulphur compounds in the vegetables and turn them into diallyl sulphides, which are known to have an anti-cancer effect and are not destroyed by heat.

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, pak choi, rocket and watercress release an enzyme called myrosinase when chopped, bruised or chewed, which reacts with natural substances called glucosinolates to convert them into isothiocyanates and indoles – both of which have anti-cancer properties.

Myrosinase is also destroyed be heating, so eating these vegetables raw, or steaming them lightly and using the waste water for gravy, can still be beneficial because certain bacteria that live in the gut can produce myrosinase to act on the glucosinolates that pass through the digestive system.

“Prostate cancer is often slow to develop and spread and so strategies that can influence its progression have considerable potential. For those living with the condition, a controlled diet may provide the only means of active treatment,” Professor Rayman said.

“Some of the evidence is very flimsy … on the other hand the principle is that there is nothing here that is going to do you any harm. I wouldn’t say that this will definitely make a difference to you, but there is definitely evidence that suggests that it may make a difference to you and it gives you the option to do something, even if the evidence is flimsy.”

“If you add the totality of the evidence together, and the interaction there may be between these foods and nutrients, you may actually achieve something, or at least slow it,” she said.

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