Hey! Hey! Wonderful to see you on this bright Saturday! What’cha up to? As usual, we were up at 4:30 to get Nong ready for work at 6:00. When I pick her up at 1:00, we’ll likely do our grocery shopping. Exciting day, huh? Fill your mug with some robust Arabica coffee then wrap your mitt around a virtual doughnut or muffin, why don’t’cha. I recommend a carrot muffin as it ties in with today’s topic.
Prostate cancer has been on my mind lately as I was recently diagnosed with it (though doctors don’t seem too worried about it at this stage). But lots of orange and other veggies and fruit are apparently very beneficial so read on...
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (next to skin cancer), so it’s no surprise that an increasing number of men are worried about this serious condition. But a new study published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology brings some good news for sufferers of the disease and those trying to prevent it.
Researchers assessed men suffering from prostate cancer in South Carolina who had already undergone surgery or radiation to treat the disease but still had a recurrence of prostate cancer. Because approximately 25 to 40 percent of men who receive these treatments still experience a recurrence in prostate cancer, the researchers attempted to determine whether specific nutrients might help.
The scientists assessed levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—a common blood test that is used to screen for prostate cancer. High PSA levels are often an indicator for the disease. This test is used to assess for prostate cancer in men with no symptoms or in those with symptoms of the disease, which can include: slow or weak urination, needing to urinate frequently (especially at night), blood in the urine, erectile dysfunction, pain in the hips or back, weakness or numbness of the legs or feet, or loss of bladder control. Healthy men typically have PSA counts that are lower than 4 nanograms/liter of blood. A higher number is frequently associated with an increased cancer risk.
Researchers found a link between higher blood levels of certain nutrients and decreased PSA levels in the men, indicating that diets higher in these nutrients may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and even help reverse cancer in men suffering from the disease, like those men who participated in the study. Both carotenoids and tocopherols were higher in men with lower PSA levels.
Carotenoids are a group of yellow-orange-red pigments known as phytonutrients (plant nutrients) found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya, peaches, squash and other similarly-colored foods. They include: beta carotene, lutein and lycopene. There are about 60 different types of carotenoids, but the study specifically assessed beta carotene, lycopene, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Researchers found that the higher levels of these nutrients resulted in a reduction in PSA in the men assessed.
Beta carotene is found in apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, leafy greens, kale, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.
Lycopene is primarily found in guavas, pink grapefruit, papayas, rosehips, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon.
Cryptoxanthin is found in oranges, papayas, peaches and tangerines.
Zeaxanthin is found in apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, leafy greens, kale, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.
Tocopherols is another name for vitamin E. The study specifically assessed levels of alpha-tocopherol and found higher levels of the nutrient were linked to a lower PSA count. Excellent sources of alpha-tocopherol include: almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, mung bean sprouts, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, olive and sunflower oils.
We’ll load the shopping cart this afternoon with many of the above which are already a good part of our diet. I am also drinking my dandelion root tea, which is supposedly good for prostate cancer and I enjoy it as well (the tea...not the cancer). At the moment, though, I am taking a break from it as you are only supposed to drink it for two weeks at a time. Next spring, I’ll be out harvesting and pestering neighbours for their little yellow Italian wine flowers which I am sure they will be happy for me to take. I need to get my research assistant scouring the Internet to find out how to make the tea (so I don't have to spend $12 for a box of 20 teabags when they root of the solution is all around me).
See ya, eh!