THOSE most wedded to a “Western” diet containing a lot of red and processed meat, fat and refined grains, were two-and-a-half-times more likely to die from a prostate cancer-related cause than men least likely to eat such foods.
Western diet consumers also had a 67 per cent increased risk of dying from any cause, while overall death rates of men choosing a “prudent” diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fish and beans were reduced by 36 per cent.
Researchers analysed health and diet data on 926 men participating in a US investigation called the Physicians’ Health Study who were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
After diagnosis, the men were followed for an average of 14 years and placed in one of four groups according to the extent to which they embraced a typical Western diet.
Researcher Dr Jorge Chavarro, from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said there is very little evidence to counsel men living with prostate cancer on how they can modify their lifestyle to improve survival.
“Our results suggest that a heart-healthy diet may benefit these men by specifically reducing their chances of dying of prostate cancer.”
The findings appear in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
Previous studies have suggested that some foods may slow down the growth of prostate cancer or reduce the risk of it returning after treatment, but the evidence is limited.
Examples include soya products, pulses such as kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils, broccoli, kale and other cruciferous vegetables, cooked and processed tomatoes, green tea and pomegranate juice.