The secret to reducing your risk for prostate cancer may lie in eating more fruits and vegetables. In a recent study conducted by the Loma Linda University Health, researchers found that men who engaged in a vegan diet were less likely to develop prostate cancer. This lower estimated risk was seen in both white and possibly black vegan subjects. The study, which was published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined the association between dietary patterns (non-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, vegan, and semi-vegetarian) and the prostate cancer incidence among 26,346 male participants.
Subjects for the study were recruited from the Seventh-day Adventist churches and organizations within the United States and Canada. The church is an advocate of both a healthy diet and lifestyle and discourages the consumption of meat. Researchers were also able to track the diet and medical condition of participants through mailed correspondence and telephone interviews. In some instances medical records were requested for review by the researchers.
According to the study director, Dr. Gary Fraser, “These analyses provided evidence that subjects adhering to a vegan diet experienced about 1/3 lower incidence of prostate cancer than those preferring a non-vegetarian diet. Vegan diets differ from other vegetarian and nonvegetarian diets by the absence of dairy and eggs, as well as greater intake of most fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.”
“This message about dairy is at the present time a logical deduction rather than a tested result.” Dr. Gary Fraser
As promising as the results of the study are, the relationship between a vegan diet and prostate cancer is still unclear. Since the consumption of food is typically done in combination with other foods rather than being consumed individually, the evaluation of dietary patterns can provide valuable data when determining associations between diet and prostate cancer risk. The universities will continue to conduct research into the vegan diet to determine what foods or combination of foods can help in lowering the risk for developing prostate cancer.