We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Did you know that choosing the right “superfoods” may help your prostate?
This might not make a lot of sense until you understand something called chronic inflammation. Some inflammation in your body is normal, such as in response to an injury, like an ankle sprain or a cut on your finger. But when inflammation occurs in response to certain factors in our daily lives –such as a poor diet –it is called chronic inflammation. Researchers are now discovering that lifestyle factors can put you at risk for many chronic diseases, including advanced prostate cancer. How? Chronic inflammation can damage cells and DNA in ways that can lead to cancer growth.
Imagine chronic inflammation to be like an actual flame. You can fan the flame with bad habits. Or you can extinguish it with a few healthy lifestyle changes like exercise and eating more superfoods. That’s good news for your heart … and bad news for prostate cancer.
The benefits of superfoods
What’s a superfood? As described in PCF’s guide, “The Science of Living Well, Beyond Cancer,” superfoods for fighting prostate cancer are brightly colored (because they are high in phytochemicals like carotenoids and anthocyanins), unprocessed and high in fiber (to support immune-boosting “good” gut bacteria), and rich in vitamins (like A, C, and E, which are antioxidants).
Consider tomatoes. Their bright red color comes from lycopene, an antioxidant that can protect cells from damage. Lycopene accumulates in the prostate, which may help explain why researchers have linked tomatoes to a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. A bonus tip: cooking tomatoes loosens the bonds in their cell walls, making it easier for the body to access the powerful antioxidant and send it to the prostate. Better yet, cooking them in olive oil helps the body absorb more cancer-busting lycopene.