A new study suggests that embracing a plant-based diet can reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with life-ending prostate cancer.
The research was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It concludes that consuming vegan food could lower the risk of developing prostate cancer overall.
The study points to both the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory elements of fruits and vegetables as key. Not only to reducing prostate cancer risk, but preventing prostate enlargement as well. The latter is a benign condition that can impact the urinary tract of sufferers.
In addition to having less chance of being diagnosed, those eating a plant-based diet were shown to have a 19 percent lower risk of dying from the condition, if found to have it.
Prostate cancer research
The study is entitled Association of plant-based diet index with prostate cancer risk. Researchers followed 47,239 men over a period of 28 years. During this time, 6,655 were diagnosed with prostate cancer. This broke down to 515 advanced cases, 956 lethal diagnoses, and 806 deaths.
Patients who ate higher levels of plant-based foods were found to be significantly less at risk of a serious case. Though fewer than one percent of participants followed a strict vegan diet.
Previously, lower levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSA) have been detected in plant-based eaters. High PSA levels have been identified as a marker of potential prostate cancer diagnosis. It’s recommended that anyone over 45 with a prostate should regularly get their PSA levels checked.
Can diet cause prostate cancer?
Red meat has previously been flagged as an antagonist for prostate enlargement, alongside erectile dysfunction. Though there has been no definitive proof that meat and dairy causes prostate problems, a causal relationship is being investigated.
As with other forms of cancer, processed, cured, and red meats have been identified as likely having an impact on prostate cancer risk. In a targeted study, cow’s milk was shown to also have a potentially negative impact on prostate health.
Aside from animal products, sugar is considered to be a potentially harmful ingredient. Diets that are high in sugar can lead to bodily inflammation, which in turn contributes to prostate enlargement.
“If you’re looking out for your prostate, think about having a low-sugar diet, minimizing carbohydrates, and sticking to good, clean, healthy foods — fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and whole grains,” Dr. Brad Gill told Cleveland Clinic.
Diet and the environment
As well as being heralded as a potential weapon against various human health conditions, a plant-based diet is also key to avoiding climate catastrophe, research says.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states that a move away from animal products is essential to slashing greenhouse gas emissions. And by proxy, reduce global warming. This is due to animal agriculture single-handedly contributing at least 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“A shift to diets with a higher share of plant-based protein in regions with excess consumption of calories and animal-source food can lead to substantial reductions in emissions, while also providing health benefits,” the report reads. “Plant-based diets can reduce emissions by up to 50 percent compared to the average emission intensive western diet.”
IPCC expert reviewer Dr. Peter Carter has doubled-down on the assertion multiple times since the report’s release in February this year. He has stated that “global veganization is now a survival imperative” while supporting UN demands for a drastic reduction in methane emissions.