In this webinar Nicky Robinson, MSc NT, Nutrition and Services Lead at Penny Brohn UK will explore the role of diet and nutrition.
Summary of a talk by Nicky Robinson, Nutrition Lead at Penny Brohn Uk.
Note this advice does not replace advice given by your healthcare team.
We exam the evidence regarding dietary nutrition and cancer and also specifically regarding prostate cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund 2018 report has a section on prostate cancer, where they have taken a vast amount of evidence and distilled it down into these 10 recommendations.
1. Be a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese is now the second highest risk factor for cancers after tobacco smoking and we've seen with prostate cancer that here is a link with obesity so maintaining a healthy weight is important.
2. Eat a diet that's rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans
In particular, eat plant-based, fibre rich foods.
3. Limit the consumption of fast and processed foods
These foods are high typically in poorer quality fats starches and sugars.
4. Limit consumption of red and processed meat
There is no need to avoid red meat completely, but it is important to limit these foods. Recommendation is to limit red meat consumption to 450 grams a week, roughly three to four portions.
5. Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks
6. Limit alcohol consumption
Avoid heavy alcohol consumption but it is ok to have an occasional drink.
7. Do not use supplements for cancer prevention
We do caution around supplement use during treatment so it is advisable to seek advice from a professional. It is beneficial to try and get as much of your nutrition as possible through foods.
8. Don’t smoke
9 Limit exposure to the sun
10 Breastfeed if you can
Key Compounds to be aware of:
Polyphenols - pomegranates, apples berries, cherries, green tea, olive oil, turmeric also red wine and quality dark chocolate. Polyphenols reduce inflammation and have strong antioxidant properties.
Glucosinolates - broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, key benefits is that they protect healthy cells against carcinogens so they can disrupt cancer pathways.
Lycopene -lycopene is a carotenoid it gives the red colour to tomatoes, also pink grapefruit and guava. To get the best of lycopene from tomatoes, lightly cook them with some olive oil or add a tablespoon of tomato puree to your cooking.
Beta glucans - found in mushrooms, beta glucans is beneficial in modulating and supporting the immune system. The more exotic mushrooms like oyster mushrooms, shiitake, maitaki mushrooms have slightly more of these compounds.
Fruit and Vegetables
Ideally half of a plate in a meal should be made up of these kinds of non-starchy vegetables and some fruit.
Starchier breads, potatoes, beans, pasta, pizza - brown rice rather than white rice, whole oats, brown bread, potatoes with their skins on. If you are having any treatment, this may be a bit tricky for you, as you may be keeping the fibre levels down, but for most of us generally, we want to be increasing our fibre intake.
It is Important to have some fats in our diet such as plant fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, coconuts, olives and olive oil. Olive oil is great for using in cooking or salads, its benefits are anti-inflammatory, as it is full of polyphenols and rich in antioxidants.
Animal sources of fats that have benefits include oily fish, salmon and mackerel, sardines, herring, and anchovies, as these have lots of anti-inflammatory omega-3.
The evidence on dairy and cancer is mixed, it can have a positive role particularly things like yogurt and quality cheeses. Unfortunately, in prostate cancer it's the one area where the World Cancer Research Fund suggests caution, so we recommend limiting dairy consumption.
Research suggests that too much choline, which is an amino acid in eggs, may be harmful, so again we recommend limiting the number of eggs a day, but no need to avoid completely.
Herbs and spices
Flax seeds or linseeds are an excellent source of fibre and omega-3 fats, omega-3 also present in walnuts and chia seeds. Garlic, turmeric, ginger lots of different herbs and spices are beneficial.
Green tea two to four cups a day is beneficial.
In prostate cancer we see some links with good gut health, so it is important to support our gut microbiome via fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir yogurt. Probiotics are important as they support the gut flora that we already have, we need to feed them with fibre such as garlic onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes and also green bananas.
There is a higher risk of cancer and cancer progression in people with a low vitamin D. Best source of vitamin D is the sun, we suggest safe sun exposure for 10 – 15 mins. However, sometimes we don't get enough through autumn in the winter so this is one area where it is worth looking at supplement but see your GP or specialist first.
Developed by Professor Rob Thomas as a consultant oncologist, it is proven to have a positive effect on prostate cancer. We recommend you discuss this with your oncologist first. Available to purchase from our online shop.
Time of Eating
It is advisable to avoid eating too frequently, leave about 4 or 5 hours between meals without snacking. Aiming for 12 - 16 hours of not eating overnight, so for example finishing an evening meal at 7.30 pm and not having another bite until 7.30am. There is evidence to indicate that the longer the overnight fasting time, the better, this helps to improve the immune system, encourage microbiome and help blood sugar regulation.