Confirmed: a healthy diet can help prevent cancer of the prostate

Confirmé: une saine alimentation peut aider à prévenir le cancer de la prostate

MONTREAL – A research team from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) brings new knowledge to confirm that healthy eating habits play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer.

While the investigations on this subject often focus on a single nutrient or food group at a time, the team from the INRS carried out by professor Marie-Élise Parent has opted instead for the study of food profiles broader.

“It is not easy to isolate the effect of a single nutrient,” says the phd student at INRS and first author of the study, Karine Trudeau. For example, foods that are rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, aids in the absorption of iron. Calcium is often consumed through dairy products which also contain vitamin D. […] Rather than relying on a food miracle, we adopt a profile of food.”

The researchers have identified and studied three profiles of food key: a healthy diet characterized by high consumption of fruits, vegetables and plant protein; a western diet with salt and alcohol, including more meat and alcoholic beverages; and a western diet with sweets and drinks characterized by a high consumption of pasta, pizza, desserts and soft drinks.

Conclusion: an association was made between a healthy diet and a decreased risk of prostate cancer. “Conversely, the adoption of a western model, with sweets and drinks was associated with a higher risk and seemed to promote more aggressive cancers, said in a press release of the INRS. The analysis showed no clear association between the western diet with salt and alcohol and the risk of developing the disease.”

“We suspected for a long time that food could play a role in the development of cancer of the prostate, but it has proven to be very difficult to understand what factors would be specifically involved,” says professor Parent. This study, which is examining the dietary habits as a whole, is revealing. We provide some elements that, we hope, will help establish prevention strategies for this cancer, the most common in men in Canada and in many other countries.”

The study was conducted using data from a survey conducted in Montreal between 2005 and 2012. Its results have been published in the journal Nutrients in the last month.

It is estimated that more than 23,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

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