If you want to take control of your health, you can start with the choices you make in the grocery store, in the kitchen, and in your favorite restaurant. As a registered dietitian specializing in oncology nutrition, my goal is to provide evidence-based information that will help you make smart and helpful food choices that pay-off with time.
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables!
Studies have shown that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables relates to lower risks of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The recommended daily intake for vegetables is at least five servings per day. One serving is equal to 1 cup of raw vegetables or ½ cup of cooked vegetables. The recommended daily intake for fruit is at least three servings per day. One serving is equal to 1 whole fresh fruit (e.g., apple, banana, pear), ½ cup cut fresh fruit (e.g., pineapple, melon, blueberries), and/or ¼ cup dried fruit. Whether fresh, frozen, or even canned (drained), eating fruits and vegetables helps to provide the body with essential nutrients.
Anti-Prostate Cancer Superfoods
Some fruits and vegetables that are worth highlighting to help reduce prostate cancer risk and/or recurrence after treatment are tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale and collard greens. By including these foods into your regular eating pattern, your body is provided with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals which have been shown to exhibit anticancer properties in experimental studies.
Tomatoes contain a compound called lycopene, a carotenoid known for its antioxidant properties. Lycopene has been associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer in several studies likely due to its ability to help limit inflammation and protect cells. Eating up to 30 mg per day from whole food sources of lycopene may be beneficial for prostate health. This equals ¾ cup of tomato sauce, juice or soup, 6 tablespoons of tomato paste, or 8 raw tomatoes. Tomatoes can be purchased fresh or canned, and cooked tomato products, such as tomato juice, tomato soup, and tomato sauce have the highest amounts of lycopene. Tomatoes are a great addition to omelets, sandwiches, soup, and pasta or simply roasted on their own.
Cruciferous vegetables contain isothiocyanates and indoles that have been shown to hinder the growth of prostate cancer cells and have also been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence and metastasis. Eating cruciferous vegetables raw or lightly cooked —steamed, sautéed, or stir fried— appears to increase the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients. These vegetables can be purchased fresh, canned, or frozen, and some frozen varieties can be microwave-steamed in the bag for added convenience. Cruciferous vegetables can be added to omelets, soups, sandwiches, smoothies, salads or sautéed with some whole grains and beans for a quick and hearty meal.
Tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, along with other whole foods are valuable components to include in your meals and snacks. A healthy eating plan is all about making the right choices in the store, at home, and when eating out. No step is too small when making healthy changes to your eating habits.
Two more recipes that are
great to keep in your kitchen:
Oven-roasted Vine Tomatoes
tomatoes on the vine
Directions: Place tomatoes (stem-included) on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt. Roast at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the skin begins to caramelize and bubble. Serve with ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, maybe crusty bread or even just on top of a roasted chicken breast!
Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad w/ Cashew Dressing
½ cup soaked raw cashews
2 dates, pitted
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup water
Directions: Shred kale and brussels sprouts. To make dressing soak cashews and dates for two hours. Drain and place in blender with the additional dressing ingredients. Puree until smooth. Toss kale and sprouts with dressing. Add chopped hazelnuts and chopped dates over the greens. Squeeze lemon over the top.