If you follow a Mediterranean diet, then there are chances that you may be protected against prostate cancer, a new study suggests.
The findings, published in the journal Cancer, suggests that men with localised prostate cancer who reported a baseline dietary pattern that more closely follows the key principles of a Mediterranean-style diet fared better over the course of their disease.
“A Mediterranean diet is non-invasive, good for overall health and, as shown by this study, has the potential to effect the progression of their cancer,” said the lead researcher, Justin Gregg, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas.
“Men with prostate cancer are motivated to find a way to impact the advancement of their disease and improve their quality of life,” Gregg added.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds and olive oil.
For the study, the researchers involved 410 men on an active surveillance protocol with Gleason grade group 1 or 2 localized prostate cancer.
The men completed a 170-item baseline food frequency questionnaire, and Mediterranean diet score was calculated for each participant across 9 energy-adjusted food groups. The participants were then divided into three groups of high, medium and low adherence to the diet.
All study participants underwent a confirmatory biopsy at the beginning of the study and were evaluated every six months through clinical exam and laboratory studies of serum antigen PSA and testosterone.
After adjusting for factors known to increase risk of cancer getting worse over time, such as age, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and tumour volume, men with a diet that contained more fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals and fish had a reduced risk of their prostate cancer growing or advancing to a point where many would consider active treatment.
The researchers also examined the effect of diabetes and statin use and found a similar risk reduction in these patient groups.
“Our findings suggest that consistently following a diet rich in plant foods, fish and a healthy balance of monounsaturated fats may be beneficial for men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer,” Gregg said.