Can men fight prostate cancer with food? It’s a common question among men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Several studies of men in countries where the diet is largely made up of red meat show the incidence of prostate cancer, especially an aggressive strain, is higher than in countries where people eat more plant-based foods. While the studies didn’t prove cause and effect, researchers are actively looking into this issue, including with the Men’s Eating and Living study.
In the MEAL study, which included men 50 to 80 years of age with early-stage prostate cancer, investigators tried to determine whether a diet high in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods would help control tumor growth.
Study participants in the MEAL group ate nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day, more than the three to four servings the typical American man eats daily, as well as two servings of whole grains and one serving of beans or other legumes. Participants in the control group ate a standard healthy diet.
Preliminary results showed men with prostate cancer can maintain healthier eating, but there was no significant effect of the MEAL diet on two-year clinical progression among men on active surveillance for prostate cancer. Researchers concluded that longer term benefits are still possible. We say hooray to anything that gets men to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables!