Rise to the occasion! Plants = Prostate Health

Colleen Gray-Hewett Blog

Hey you guys!!!! Yes – you – the men out there. It’s Movember. Would you like to know how to lower or eliminate your risk of prostate cancer? Or if you are diagnosed already, how to lower your PSA numbers and possibly prevent recurrences post-treatment? Growing a moustache for the month of November and donating to male-specific cancer research is worthy and I’m not asking you to stop that. A huge benefit of the Movember campaign, now in its 15th year, is that it may stimulate you to pay closer attention to your prostate and testicles – at least with a different perspective!

Movember was founded in 2003 in Australia by 30 men. In 2007 several other countries joined the movement including the United States and Canada. In 2017 there were 20 countries and over 5.5 million men with over 1200 cancer projects funded. A search of the Movember website can enlighten men and the women who love them (your son, your husband, your brother, your father) on many aspects of prostate, testicular cancers as well as mental health. Check it out. The one thing missing, however, is the dietary links to cancer and dietary changes a man can easily make that may actually have the greatest impact on whether he will even develop these cancers in the first place.

Understand that the US has THE highest rate of prostate cancer in the world while Asian nations have the lowest occurrences. Also understand that when a man moves from Asia to the US and adopts a US lifestyle, within one generation, his rate of prostate cancer will match that of his US countrymen. T. Colin Campbell’s China Study and Whole detail this over decades. The countries in the world where rates of men’s cancers are going up are directly proportional to the increase of meat, eggs and dairy in the diet. The Indias and Chinas of the world are trying to catch up to the per capita animal consumption of the US and are paying the price with health. It is still seen as a sign of wealth (not health) to consume animals. Yet the link to cancer is astounding.

What about genetics? There is a genetic component to all cancers. Approximately 5% of most forms of cancer are linked to hereditary genes that have been triggered to express or mutate. According to Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts, if you carry the gene for prostate cancer your risk of developing the disease will go up 3-fold. But whether you carry the gene or not, your risk of developing prostate cancer will go up 300-fold if you continue to maintain a Standard American Diet combined with low movement and high stress. It has been scientifically shown that carrying a gene does not mean that the gene will ultimately be expressed. There has to be a cumulation of catalysts to launch a gene into action – mostly lifestyle and environmental. This is true for genetic cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease and many chronic diseases that are often blamed on genes. If you know you carry the gene for a disease, you must make changes now as cancer is often developing for a decade or more before it is detectable through screening.

Men – what are you doing today? The common choice is unfortunately to do nothing until getting tested at age 50, which is gambling. Most men will develop an elevated PSA and/or prostate cancer at some point in their life – it may be at age 95 but it will likely happen. Once diagnosed, there are a few medical options: surgery; radiation; chemotherapy and pharmaceuticals. These treatments all have effects including impacting your sexual performance and your ability to pee, and will likely not eliminate your future prostate cancer risk. Worse, you may face chemical or surgical castration if the form of cancer is aggressive or caught late. Even with this drastic measure, there are no guarantees of permanent remission and can you guess how life will change for you?

OR you could immediately change your eating habits. Way less drastic. No negative effects. Strong possibility for prevention or benefitting recovery. Delicious. Yet why so challenging?

Surprisingly, many information sites on cancer either give no advice on diet or very basic food-guide type stuff. Everything in moderation. But cancer is not moderate – especially if you have it and especially if you have it in your sex organ or sex hormone production centre (testes). So what, specifically, can you do about diet? Here’s what some of the published, peer-reviewed scientific research is telling us:

BECOME A PLANT LOVER (this is the win):
Tomatoes (lycopene shows promise for prostate health)
Cruciferous vegetables
Unfermented soy products – positive link to avoiding cancer (eg: organic tofu, edamame, soy milk)
Fiber (only in plant foods)
All fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds
Flavanoids: the antioxidants from plants which assist your cells in elimination of free radicals which may be one of the factors switching on cancer cells. From Prostate.net: the higher the flavonoid consumption, the greater risk reduction.

Other meat
Fish – as much for toxicity as animal protein
Saturated fat oils
Excessive salt and non-whole fruit sugar

Several studies have been performed with men who were diagnosed and/or treated for prostate cancer. Some studies were with more advanced disease. What researchers, such as Dr. Dean Ornish, found is that regardless of what stage a man is at, it is the adherence to dietary compliance of a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet that determined success. Moderation is not acceptable. You can’t be 90% ‘good’ when you are dealing with disease. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), men must keep all dietary saturated fats out, which is effectively all animal products – no acceptable amount. Animal fats increase production of testosterone which, along with other hormones, is a catalyst for prostate cancer. Adopting a WFPB (ideally organic) lifestyle is for life. Dr. Ornish (and others) also found that PSA numbers climb back up and cancer risk returns when men stopped adhering to the WFPB diet.

Eating plants is a prescription for life not death. Surgery, chemo, radiation and drugs have their place and that is between you and your physician, but don’t make this your only option. Wear your moustache loud and proud. Do some investigation and talk about the best and tastiest way to prevent and treat these silent killers. Then go to yoga or a workout and have a great plant-based meal with a friend. Maybe a craft beer too. Most don’t use animal products anymore.

Ahimsa!  Practice non-violence to animals, self and environment.

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