Prostate Cancer and Flavonoid-Rich Foods

Prostate Cancer and Flavonoid-Rich Foods

Researchers are saying that people who regularly consume a lot of plant-based foods and drinks rich in flavonoid compounds have a better chance of getting a less aggressive form of prostate cancer if diagnosed later on.

However, the research scope is limited and there’s no strong evidence that patients who have a plant-based diet are protected against ever having prostate cancer.

Is it possible to fight prostate cancer with flavonoids?

Foods that are good sources of flavonoids include fruits and vegetables, cocoa, tea, juices and wine. These types of antioxidants are noted to fight inflammation, cell death, oxidation and tumor cell growth thus reducing the risk of cancer.

The particular study mentioned in this article was not about finding or confirming the cancer prevention ability of flavonoids. Rather, the study looked at the condition of 1,900 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients. According to data, patients who had a diet with the most quantity of flavonoids had a 25 percent less probability of getting the aggressive form of cancer.
Associate Professor Susan Steck from the University of South Carolina and the lead author of the study said that the study lacked a healthy comparison group. So, even if they believe that eating more fruits and veggies would likely reduce the odds of getting prostate cancer, there’s no way of proving that based on the study results.

Steck added that what the study results are actually showing them is the reduced risk for aggressive prostate cancer as a result of the high intake of flavonoids. There’s no indication that the person will not get the cancer, but there is mitigation against the severe kind of cancer.

The research team based their observation on the dietary habits self-reported by the patients upon being diagnosed with cancer. The patients were composed of 977 white men and 920 black men. There were no dietary changes imposed on the patients after the diagnosis.

All these male patients were part of the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project.

Among the participants, it seems that smokers and men not older than 65 are most benefitted by the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Based on the pre-diagnosis diet report of the study participants, they got their flavonoids mostly from green and black tea, orange juice and grapefruit juice. Other flavonoid-rich foods include onions, strawberries, cooked greens, broccoli and kale.

Limited Findings and Recommendation for Future Studies

No specific plant-based food was found to produce the noticed protective effect. The reduced aggressive cancer risk must be due to a dietary combination of flavonoids, the research team concluded.

The nature of the study design is very limiting. It’s difficult to extract conclusions from the data, which were based on the patients’ recollection of their diet prior to their cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Lionel Banez, an assistant professor from the Duke University Medical Center suggested that in order to get more reliable findings regarding the impact of flavonoid-rich foods on cancer risk levels, the study participants should be placed on a controlled dietary program and monitored for the onset of cancer.

While the present study saw the potential of plant-based flavonoid-rich diets in lowering the risk of the aggressive form of prostate cancer, the data is not enough to make a confident recommendation. It also does not show a cause-and-effect relationship.

Photo credits: Emerika assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims). Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Health