According to an article recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, high intake of cruciferous vegetables appears to lower the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.

The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. It produces some of the fluid that transports sperm during ejaculation. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men.

Recent research has focused heavily on the influence diet may have on the rates of developing various types of cancers and on outcomes. More evidence is emerging that indicates a higher intake of fruits and vegetables instead of meat and processed foods appears to reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers.

Researchers affiliated with the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial recently conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of prostate cancer. The study included 1,388 men with prostate cancer and 29,361 men who were enrolled in the screening group of patients in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Individuals completed a 137-item food questionnaire at the beginning of the study.

  • Overall, vegetable and fruit consumption did not affect the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • High vegetable intake significantly decreased the risk of developing prostate cancer that had spread outside of the prostate (advanced prostate cancer).
  • Higher intake of broccoli and cauliflower in particular provided significant protection against advanced prostate cancer.

The researchers concluded: “High intake of cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower, may be associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer;” however, such a diet did not reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer.

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Reference: Kirsh V, Peters U, Mayne S, et al. Prospective study of fruit and vegetable intake and risk of prostate cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2007;99:1200-1209.

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