Fighting foods that help block breast and prostate cancers

5/21/2014

Confused about the best cancer-prevention diet? You’re not alone. In recent years, a few studies have questioned the benefits of foods once considered big guns in the battle against breast and prostate cancers. Now, new research proves they do help, especially if you combine them with other smart steps like staying slim, getting regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding Food Felons such as red meat and added sugars and syrups. That’s good news, because one in eight women will develop breast cancer, and one in seven men will develop prostate cancer within their lifetime. So be sure to put these tasty foods on your plate.

Confused about the best cancer-prevention diet? You’re not alone. In recent years, a few studies have questioned the benefits of foods once considered big guns in the battle against breast and prostate cancers. Now, new research proves they do help, especially if you combine them with other smart steps like staying slim, getting regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding Food Felons such as red meat and added sugars and syrups. That’s good news, because one in eight women will develop breast cancer, and one in seven men will develop prostate cancer within their lifetime. So be sure to put these tasty foods on your plate.

Tomatoes: Back on the team!

Cooked tomatoes deliver a healthy dose of lycopene, a carotenoid that, in a big Harvard Medical School follow-up study, cut risk for prostate cancer 9 percent and slashed odds for fatal prostate cancer 28 percent. Lycopene discourages formation of blood vessels that feed tumors; it also slows cancer growth. It’s not as clear that lycopene discourages breast cancer, but since it reduces your risk for heart disease and peripheral artery disease, you want to get plenty! (Soon we may have the “essence of tomato” supplement that’s available in Europe.)

Eating plan: Aim for at least 90 milligrams of lycopene a week — you’ll get that in 1/2 cup tomato sauce or 1 cup low-sodium tomato juice four times a week. While cooked tomato products have the highest levels, fresh tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit also deliver some lycopene.

Flavor boost: Mix up a Spanish-style condiment called sofrito — a blend of tomato paste, olive oil, garlic and onion — for a dose of cancer-battling polyphenols and carotenoids, says a recent report from the University of Barcelona. Dab it on 100 percent whole-grain bread, veggies, fish or chicken.    

Omega-3s:  Putting the brakes on cancer

You know omega-3 fats pamper your eyes, brain, joints and mood. But one study seemed to find a link with higher prostate cancer risk, scaring men away from fish and fish oil capsules. It’s time to come back! In one new study, fish oil along with a healthy diet reduced inflammation in men with prostate cancer and seemed to slow cancer-cell growth. In other studies, men with high blood levels of omega-3s had a 25 percent lower risk for prostate cancer, and women with high blood levels had a 14 percent lower risk for breast cancer.  

Eating plan: Enjoy several servings of fatty, omega-3-rich fish like salmon or wild trout weekly. We do that and get 900 milligrams of DHA (the most powerful omega-3) from daily algal-oil supplements.

Flavor boost: Snack on a small handful of nuts (walnuts are numero uno) several times a week. A new study found these nuggets help lower the risk for lethal prostate cancer 29 percent.

Fruit and

vegetables: Fiber up!

A few years ago, experts questioned whether fruits and vegetables helped lower cancer risk. We’ve never doubted they do, and now a British study of 65,000 people says getting five or more servings daily cuts your risk for fatal cancers by 25 percent. Other new reports have found a 40 percent lower risk of fatal prostate cancer and a 50 percent lower risk for breast cancer among people who load up on fruit and veggies as part of a healthy lifestyle.   

Eating plan: Sneak high-fiber fruits and veggies into every meal and snack. Why? Fiber can help keep you slim and may whisk cancer-promoting substances out of your body and control levels of cancer-fueling hormones.

comments powered by Disqus
I commented on a story, but my comments aren't showing up. Why?
We provide a community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day.
Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. We expect civil dialogue.
Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome.
Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum.

If you don't see your comment, perhaps you ...
... called someone an idiot, a racist, a moron, etc. Name-calling or profanity (to include veiled profanity) will not be tolerated.
... rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
... included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
... accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
... made a comment in really poor taste.

MULTIMEDIA