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Eat It To Beat It: Participation Fast Facts and 30 Foods

Posted at 10:53 AM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 15:48:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation is challenging Americans to focus on the foods they eat during September to help raise awareness and prevent the cancer.

As part of Prostate Awareness Month, the foundation is asking the public to join the Eat It To Beat It challenge. The month-long food challenge is comprised of various foods known to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

"We know that 30% of cancer is preventable with lifestyle factors," the foundation says on its website. "Eating healthy and exercising can prevent any number of chronic diseases, and in some cases, like diabetes, it can even help reverse some of the most dangerous effects. You can learn more about how lifestyle factors influence prostate cancer outcomes."


SEPTEMBER IS PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. You can participate by joining the EAT TO BEAT TO IT challenge! The first step is to join the PCF Facebook Group. Don't want to be on Facebook? Sign up here and we will send you information by email during the month. When you are in the group, request your FREE welcome kit!


PCF's Periodic Table of Healthy Foods and challenge kicks off Sept. 1 with broccoli, which the foundation says, citing research, can have cancer-fighting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

Other foods include popcorn, pickles, eggplant, lentils, garlic, and edamame.

"The wellness guide is not just for men with living with prostate cancer or people living with cancer, but also written for anyone interested in living well and reducing their risk for cancer," says PCF.



When is it? September 2020, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

What can you do? Be a food scientist, cook healthy, eat well & have fun!

Who can participate? ANYONE. By participating you spread the word and create awareness not just of how lifestyle changes can help men with prostate cancer, but everyone.

Where does this take place? Cook it in your kitchen and put it out on your social media page.

How does it work? The Prostate Cancer Foundation has a published a list of 95 health friendly foods to foster good health. For the 30 days of September, we’ve picked 30 foods to focus on. To help foster your participation, we have built weekly shopping lists and suggestions for recipes.

Eat It To Beat It – Monthly Shopping List and 30 Foods by Week

Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Saturday, Sept 5 (5 foods)

1. Broccoli – It’s a superfood! These little green trees - part of a class of foods you may know as cruciferous vegetables - contain high amounts of glucosinolates. Research suggests that these natural plant compounds can have cancer-fighting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

2. Flax seeds – These nutritional powerhouses are packed with protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and helpful phytochemicals called lignans, which have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They’ve also been shown to decrease breast cancer risk. Grind your flaxseed up first to get the most benefit.

3. Green peas – An accessible staple, they can be easily found as fresh (preferable!), canned, and frozen. These legumes are full of fiber and antioxidants, and are also used in meat substitutes due to their rich quantity of plant protein.

4. Blueberries – Blueberries are a superfood. These sweet fruits are low in calories but have a dense nutrient profile, making them the perfect snack. Blueberries are full of fiber, vitamins C and K, and flavonoids (antioxidants). If you’re on warfarin and need to keep your vitamin K intake constant, check with your doctor.

5. Pickles – Are otherwise known as fermented cucumbers (or veggie of your choice). While not technically “probiotics,” fermented foods can influence your gut bacteria and have been linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among others. Note: watch the sodium.

- What to make this week: blueberry flax meal pancakes, pickles, mint pea dip

Sunday, Sept. 6 – Saturday, Sept. 12 (7 foods)

1. Kale – Kale is a superfood! Like broccoli, kale is a cruciferous vegetable. These leafy greens are high in anti-cancer antioxidants, vitamins (including A, C, and K), and iron. If you’re taking warfarin and need to keep your vitamin K intake constant, watch the kale.

2. Popcorn – Pair this fun, healthy snack with a movie. An unprocessed whole grain, it’s very low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Those little hulls that catch in your teeth? They’ve got beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin for your eyes, as well as polyphenols. Avoid salty, oily pre-packaged popcorn and learn to make your own.

3. Edamame – Edamame (whole soybeans) are a nearly perfect protein. They provide a full suite of amino acids (protein building-blocks) as well as fiber. Soy’s benefits are complex due to the different nutritional components (e.g., isoflavones, protein) and types (e.g., whole vs processed, fermented vs not).

4. Sweet potato – Another superfood, with almost too much good stuff to describe in 2 sentences! Beta-carotene (converts to vitamin A) and anthocyanins are both antioxidants and are vital for key body functions such as vision (Vitamin A) and cardiovascular health. Choose organic if you can, wash well, and eat the skin for maximum fiber.

5. Apple – This easy-to-find fruit is surprisingly good for you (but no guarantees on keeping the doctor away). They contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber, that feeds the “good bacteria” in your gut so they work better for you. The quercetin in apples may promote cancer cell death.

6. Almonds – Technically, they’re seeds of the almond fruit – but you can still call them nuts! In any case, they are packed with nutrients. While high in fat, most of it is unsaturated fatty acids, which aid in heart health. They’ll also supply you with antioxidants (in the skin), protein, fiber, trace minerals, and are an especially good source of vitamin E (which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting effects).

7. Okra – Featured in traditional Southern cooking, okra is in the mallow family and has a unique, savory flavor profile. Its texture might not be to everyone’s taste, but that comes from a type of soluble fiber called mucilage (also found in psyllium). This thick, gooey substance acts as a prebiotic to feed your microbiome and help with digestion. Soluble fiber has also been shown to lower blood glucose and cholesterol.

- What to make this week: roasted sweet potatoes, apple almond bake, kale chips

Sunday, Sept. 13 – Saturday, Sept 19 (7 foods)

1. Avocado – You might be taken aback when you see the high fat content, but most of it comes from monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to improve the blood lipid profile and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease. Fat also helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients found in avocados (and the veggies you might eat with avocado… tomatoes!).

2. Onion – Onions are versatile and healthy! Onions are not only full of nutrients like vitamin C, but you’ll also get a dose of antioxidants like flavonols. As an Allium vegetable, onions are high in beneficial organosulfur compounds, which have the potential to fend off inflammation, oxidative stress, microbes, and even cancer, as well as improve cardiovascular health.

3. Garlic – Onion’s Allium cousin, garlic has had a historical tie to medicinal and anti-inflammatory benefits for thousands of years. Garlic is another rich source of those organosulfur compounds.

4. Tomato –Tomatoes are a superfood! These versatile fruits are a fantastic source of vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant lycopene, part of the class of carotenoid antioxidants that can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Evidence suggests that lycopene is associated with lower risk of advanced or fatal prostate cancer. But superfoods can’t do it all; the marinara on a Meat Lover’s pizza won’t cancel out the inflammatory and carcinogenic effects of processed meat.

5. Lentils – Lentils, classified as legumes, are a phenomenal source of plant-based protein as well as fiber, protein, iron, folate, and other minerals. The fiber in lentils can be a source of prebiotics to support a healthy gut microbiome. Research has linked legume consumption to decreased risk of heart disease and improved blood sugar control. If your system isn’t used to legumes, start slowly until you see how you tolerate all that fiber.

6. Eggplant – Eggplant belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables. Though not a significant source of vitamins, it is low in calories and high in fiber, and its spongy texture allows it to soak up the flavors of marinades or sauces. The deep purple color of the skin comes from its high anthocyanin content, so make sure to consume the skin as part of a heart-healthy, cancer-fighting diet.

7. Quinoa – It’s been on the food scene for years as a high-protein, gluten-free replacement for rice or pasta. Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, that you can easily simmer on the stove, like cooking rice. With more fiber and a lot more protein than brown rice, it’s definitely worth a try.

- What you can make this week: guacamole, ratatouille, lentil quinoa salad

Sunday, Sept. 20 – Saturday, Sept 26 (7 foods)

1. Brussels sprouts – This superfood looks like a mini cabbage, its cruciferous cousin. Sulforaphane in crucifers may fight cancer by combatting inflammation and oxidation (damage) of your cells and DNA. Try them roasted with a little olive oil and seasoning, and you’ll forget about the boiled, overcooked version you may have been forced to eat as a kid.

2. Acorn squash – Acorn squash, or the pepper squash, is an excellent source of fiber – make sure to eat the skin for the benefits of insoluble fiber: helps you feel full, prevents constipation, and regulates blood sugar after a meal. The vibrant yellow-orange color comes from carotenoids, which have beneficial antioxidant properties, and in large population studies are linked to lower risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

3. Bean sprouts – Mung bean sprouts are most commonly available in the grocery store, but you may be able to find more nutritious varieties (like sprouted lentils or soybeans) at a health-food store or farmers’ market. You can also make them at home. Research suggests that sprouting increases protein content and makes nutrients more available during digestion. People have been sickened by contaminated (raw) sprouts, so it’s a good idea to cook them, such as in a stir-fry. Children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems should be especially cautious – even with home sprouting.

4. Barley – Carbohydrates, in the form of whole grains, are not the enemy! Barley is a super grain, containing fiber, vitamins and minerals. A specific type of fiber in barley, beta-glucan, is a soluble fiber that slows digestion, keeps blood sugar stable, and is linked to lower blood cholesterol. Choose hulled barley for maximum nutrition, as the “pearled” type has been processed. Note that barley contains gluten.

5. Shiitake – Shiitake mushrooms add a savory umami note to soups, stir-fries, and (whole!) grain dishes. Research suggests that compound called lentinan in shiitakes may stimulate the immune system against cancer, but this remains unproven. A 2019 study of Japanese men found that more frequent mushroom eaters had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Eat them for the flavor, fiber, vitamins, and minerals!

6. Tempeh – Tempeh’s got a couple of things going for it: it’s soy and it’s fermented. A great source of plant-based protein, it has a meatier flavor, more solid texture, and more fiber than tofu.

7. Black beans – Black beans are legumes and rich in fiber, iron, and flavonoids. Several large studies following men over time found that men who ate more non-soy legumes had a lower risk of prostate cancer. To recap the benefits of fiber: it will help fill you up, feed your gut bacteria, and is associated with lower LDL cholesterol. It’s ideal (and cheap!) to cook dried beans at home, but if you’re buying canned, look for the no-salt-added label.

- What you can make this week: mushroom barley soup, stuffed acorn squash (use the tempeh!), black bean soup

Sunday, Sept. 27 – Wednesday, Sept 30 (4 foods)

1. Banana – We don’t include many sweets in our list, but bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar or insulin levels as much as a candy bar or even a handful of raisins. How does this work? A food’s Glycemic Index (GI) is an indicator of how it quickly it’s absorbed and causes your blood sugar to rise; bananas are considered to have a relatively low GI. They’re also a good source of potassium and fiber.

2. Cabbage – Cabbage is a superfood! Cheap and versatile, cabbage is full of nutritional benefits and easy to find in your supermarket. As a cruciferous vegetable, it’s full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, specifically isothiocyanates. Cabbage has also been associated with positive effects on blood sugar levels and digestive processes (thanks to its high fiber) and antibacterial activity.

3. Oats – We consider oats to be a super grain. While steel-cut oats are less processed than the familiar rolled oats found readily at the market, the nutritional value is similar. Steel-cut are digested more slowly, sending glucose more gradually into the bloodstream. The main fiber in oats is beta-glucan, which is associated with improved cholesterol and prevention of blood sugar and insulin spikes after a meal, among other benefits. Oats also contain natural antioxidants. Avoid the flavored instant oatmeal packets that are high in sugar.

4. Pumpkin seeds – It’s not too early to start honing your pumpkin-carving skills in advance of Halloween. Don’t waste the seeds! Roast them at home with a little oil and seasoning and enjoy this heart-healthy source of protein and antioxidants.

- What you can make this week: Asian cabbage salad, overnight oats

For more information about healthy eating and reducing one’s risk of developing prostate cancer, see PCF’s Science of Living Well, Beyond Cancer wellness guide and visit .

Thank you for stepping up and taking the Eat It to Beat It Challenge!