You’ve heard about cruciferous vegetables before — how they’re good for you and can bolster your immune system. But how about some really impressive health news on the cruciferous veggie front? Researchers at the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston and the Department of Urology at the University of California in San Francisco, just recently reported that adding these powerhouse vegetables to a weekly diet could reduce the risk for prostate cancer by as much as 59%.
For their study, the combined research team acknowledged that cruciferous vegetables, tomato sauce, and legumes have been associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer. However, many of these studies have been done in vitro or with animals and not on men already diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers therefore devised a clinical trial to examine whether intake of total vegetables, and specifically cruciferous vegetables, tomato sauce, and legumes, could reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression.
A total of 1,560 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer were enrolled in the study. All participated in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor, a United States prostate cancer registry. As a secondary analysis, the researchers also looked at other vegetable sub-groups, total fruit, and sub-groups of fruits. The participants were diagnosed primarily at community-based clinics and followed from 2004 to 2009. Vegetable and fruit intake was assessed via a food frequency questionnaire. Prostate cancer outcomes were assessed via urologist reports and medical records.
The researchers recorded 134 cases of prostate progression, 53 recurrences, 71 secondary treatments likely due to recurrence, six bone metastases, and four prostate cancer deaths. They determined that men with the highest intakes of cruciferous vegetables post-prostate cancer diagnosis, had a statistically significant 59% decreased risk of prostate cancer progression compared to men in the lowest quartile. The researchers stated that no other vegetable or fruit group was significantly associated with risk of prostate cancer progression. They concluded that cruciferous vegetable intake after diagnosis may reduce risk of prostate cancer progression.
Want to add some cruciferous vegetables to your diet? Not sure which ones to eat? Try the following to get a healthy dose of cancer-prevention: broccoli; cabbage; collard greens; cauliflower; and kale.