What to Eat: Cruciferous Vegetables and Prostate Cancer

In the CaPSURE study, which tracked 1,560 men with prostate cancer for two years, cruciferous vegetables—like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, and swiss chard—stood out.

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“Men who consumed a high amount of cruciferous vegetables after diagnosis had a reduced risk of having their disease recur,” says Erin Richman of the University of California, San Francisco, lead author of the CaPSURE study.

And in another study, men who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables had a 40 percent lower risk of tumors that had spread beyond the prostate. In particular, men who ate more than one serving of broccoli or cauliflower a week had roughly half the risk of men who consumed less than one serving a month.

Why cruciferous vegetables? Their isothiocyanates and indoles may matter.

“When you expose prostate cancer cells in a test tube or animals that have an implanted prostate tumor to isothiocyanates or indoles, it inhibits the cells’ growth,” says Richman. “But there’s very little data in men.”

Sources: Int. J. Cancer 131: 201, 2012; J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 99: 1200, 2007.

 

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