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Friday
Nov162012

Movember Madness

Movember is already in full swing.  It’s that time of the year when we laugh and cringe or ooh and aah at the different shapes and sizes of mustaches grown by the men in our lives. And it’s definitely that time of year when I am truly thankful that my husband cannot grow a mustache (shh, you didn’t hear it from me)!!! This trendy activity has certainly gained a lot of popularity over the years for good reason--it’s a fun way to remember that we live in a world where cancer is a big problem and for men, prostate cancer is an ever-growing concern.  However, within all the fun and games, is any knowledge getting through?  Although November is Men’s Health Awareness month, simple awareness isn’t enough. We need action for true prevention of this disease. 

More than ever, research is showing that diet plays a key role in prostate cancer prevention and management.  This refers to not only what we should be eating, but what we shouldn’t be eating.  There are many foods that cause inflammation and oxidization of the cells, two key factors that contribute to the development and progression of prostate (and other) cancer.  These are typically what we know as “junk food” and while we all know we should not be eating this sort of food, few people realize the true risks associated with eating processed foods, soda (diet and regular), deep fried foods, chips, and sugary foods.  Sugar alone is a prime energy source for cancer.  Couple this with other processed foods, fast foods, and junk foods and you’ve got a disease waiting to happen!

In addition to the harm that “junk food” does to our cells, these foods cause extra body fat which promotes insulin resistance.  This in turn reduces levels of Insulin Growth Factor binding proteins that should prevent prostate cancer cells from dying and when it’s reduced, it can actually help cancer cells grow.  Diet and exercise directly affect this because when we are eating healthy foods, maintaining healthy portions, keeping junk food out of our diet, and exercising regularly, then we can maintain a healthy muscle mass and a low body fat.

For prostate cancer prevention, there are not only foods we should stay away from, but there are also foods we should strive to eat.  Below are some foods that are scientifically proven to help prevent prostate cancer (and other cancers).   If you make an effort to get at least 3 of these foods/food groups in your daily diet, it is your first line of defense against chronic disease.  As you read about the foods below, note that the healthier your cell membrane is, the stronger your defense system is against disease.  When the cellular walls are damaged, they become thin and can even break and at that point, they are extremely susceptible to toxins.  When they are strong, they hold all of the important nutrients in and keep toxins out.  It is important to keep a strong cellular wall for optimum health. 

Lycopene.  This antioxidant blocks the action of free radicals that damage cells.  Lycopene can be found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, apricots, guava, and papaya.  Enjoy whole fruits or use pasta sauce/salsa on your meats, omelettes and stirfry! (note: lycopene from tomatoes is better absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked and when there is a small amount of healthy fats in the meal).

Turmeric.  This anti-inflammatory spice prevents cancer and can also be used when cancer is present to prevent cancer metastasis (the spread of growth from one organ to another).  Add turmeric to smoothies or any meal you make, or take a concentrated supplement to make sure to be getting this spice in your diet each and every day.

Cruciferous vegetables. Although the list is more extensive, the most common cruciferous vegetables in the North American diet are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Kale, collard greens, and arugulaThese are commonly referred to as the “anti-cancer” vegetables because they reduce cell damage mainly by accelerating cellular repair.  My favourite ways to consume cruciferous veggies are: 1. Roasting cauliflower and broccoli with some coconut oil and curry powder (curry powder contains turmeric!), 2. Baking/dehydrating kale into kale chips, 3. Pureeing these vegetables into a creamy soup, 4. Making a healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw.

Pomegranate. pomegranate contains antioxidants called “elligitannins” that interfere with an enzyme (CYP1B1) that is often present under cancerous conditions.  Avoid commercial pomegranate juice as its often has added sugars or concentrated sugars.  Instead, enjoy munching on the seeds, or juice it yourself!

Green Tea. Green tea contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols, the most abundant of which is called “Epigallocatechin gallate” or ECG.  This antioxidant has been proven to suppress cancer growth and increase cancer cell death.  Make an effort to get it at least one cup of green tea a day.  If you do not care for the earthy flavour of this tea, try squeezing some fresh lemon into it and enjoy it hot or cold!

Don't let your mustache grow in vein this year!  Instead, put to practice and spread the knowledge of how we can help prevent prostate and other cancers!

Sources used:

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/lycopene

http://www.naturalnews.com/027435_cancer_Prostate_pomegranate.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251461.php

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/prostatesupplements/healthprofessional/page2

http://www.pcf.org/atf/cf/%7B7c77d6a2-5859-4d60-af47-132fd0f85892%7D/NUTRITION_EXERCISE_GUIDE.PDF

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for the advice! If only I could get my hubby on board...I'll wear him down one of these days!

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynae

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