In a recent post I told you about the Journal of the American Medical Association article on a study about vitamin E supplementation and prostate cancer. The conclusion was that those who were randomized to receive daily supplementation with vitamin E had a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer.
I wanted to make sure you have the most current information on foods that are being studied to prevent prostate cancer. Therefore, that’s our topic for today. Be prepared for some weird words, because we’ll be talking about phytochemicals!
Say What?!? I know, the word sounds crazy. Scientists name them and they are impossible to pronounce! Basically, glucosinolates are natural, sulfur containing compounds. Cruciferous vegetables are actually one of the best sources of these compounds. They form another compound called sulforaphane, which has been studied to interfere with the cancer process.
Research on sulforaphane has shown promising results for the prevention of lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. And according to this article in Today’s Dietitian in Oct 2011, a new study found that sulforaphane targets prostate cancer cells and pre-cancerous cells while leaving healthy prostate cells alone. The perfect combination!
The connection between sulforaphane has been studied in labs, in animals and in humans. They are even trying to figure out if it could be used to make cancer treatment medications.
Obviously, this research also suggests that eating cruciferous vegetables can help to prevent prostate cancer.
What Counts as a Cruciferous Vegetable?
There are many vegetables that fit into the category of cruciferous. Broccoli and cauliflower are the most common, but here are some additional ones you will want to include in your diet:
- brussels sprouts
- collard greens
- mustard greens
- turnip greens
- bok choy
- Chinese cabbage
- broccoli rabe
Many of these are in season right now. I cannot tell you how many radishes I’ve had in my fridge for the last few weeks. They’ve been coming in the vegetable box from my farmer and I haven’t had the chance to cook them!
How Much Should I Eat?
There aren’t any specific recommendations on amounts that you should eat. I typically encourage men and women to eat 5 servings a week or more of cruciferous vegetables.
I’ll try to pull together some good recipes for these powerful vegetables to share. I have been reading through a book by a nutritionist and cook in France called Zest for Life. It focuses on a Mediterranean anti-cancer diet. I used one of her recipes for cabbage wraps the other day and it was great!
You can check out a quick preview here:
I’m thinking of attending one of her cooking classes in France next spring. Anyone want to join me? : )