Popeye and the prostate
Spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds and sweet peppers could help protect men against the most common male cancer.
These foods are high in the form of vitamin E that according to US research appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The US National Cancer Institute study of 300 men was presented at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting in Orlando.
Stephanie Weinstein of the Institute told the BBC: 'We found that the men who had the higher serum levels of vitamin E had a lower chance of getting prostate cancer.'
The research looked at the two main forms of vitamin E - alpha tocopherol and gamma tocopherol — and it was alpho tocopherol that appeared most important. Men with the highest natural levels of alpha tocopherol were 53% less likely to later develop the disease.
Alpha tocopherol is best absorbed from such as sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds and sweet peppers rather than supplements.
It may also protect against bladder cancer. A study of 1,000 patients at the University of Texas found those with the highest intake of alpha tocopherol from food had a 42% lower risk of bladder cancer. Interestingly, supplements made only the smallest of differences - those who had a diet high in vitamin E and took supplements had a 44% lower risk.
Dr Tim Key, of Cancer Research UK, offered some sensible advice concerning the prostate cancer trial. He said: 'One clinical trial, and several observational studies, have suggested that relatively high intakes, or blood levels, of vitamin E may reduce the risk for prostate cancer. However, other studies have not observed this association, and it is too soon to be sure whether there is a real protective effect.
He pointed out that 'foods naturally rich in vitamin E such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and vegetables can be recommended as part of a healthy diet, but the evidence does not support the use of vitamin E supplements for the purpose of reducing prostate cancer risk.'
Meanwhile, the British Medical Journal is once again reporting research that frequent ejaculation may reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Draw your own conclusions. Click to read more.
Page created on April 13th, 2004
Page updated on January 15th, 2010