Like many other health conditions, one of the most effective ways to prevent prostate disease is through diet. There are a number of foods that could help shield against the three enemies of the prostate: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and cancer. One of the most potent is soy.
Some of the strongest evidence on soy’s effectiveness in keeping the prostate healthy comes from studying the health of Japanese and Chinese men. Researchers have determined that men who are native to these two countries have the lowest rates of prostate cancer. But Japanese and Chinese men who immigrate to the U.S. develop an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Diet is the obvious answer to this apparent change in statistics, and soy is likely one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle as to why cancer rates in Asia differ so much from those in the U.S.
Okinawans eat soy as part of their daily diet and also have one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Soy contains a number of protective nutrients. The most important one for you to know about in regards to prostate health is something called genistein. Genistein is a plant estrogen. It acts in a number of ways to potentially protect against cancer. It could slow cell growth and could even prevent the spread of tumors. Cancer cells need blood vessels to grow and spread. Chemotherapy is based in part on stopping blood vessel growth in cancer cells. Genistein also has this ability. It has been shown to halt blood vessel growth in tumors. One study published in “Nutrition and Cancer” found that genistein inhibited cell growth and apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.
Soy is also an antioxidant. It lowers cholesterol. It is a good source of protein. It protects bones and can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
You can get a healthy dose of soy in your diet by eating these foods:
— Miso (very tasty in soups)
— Soybeans (can be dried and cooked as a bean dish)
— Soymilk (many flavors are now available for those who don’t like the slightly bitter taste of plain soymilk)
— Soy protein powder (add to fruit juices to make a smoothie)
— Tempeh (fermented soy cakes; excellent with veggies)
— Tofu (use firm in stir-fry dishes, soft in pureed dishes)
— Soynuts (you can eat these roasted as a snack)