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 prostate 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."
► PROSTATE AWARENESS MONTHSEPTEMBER 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.
WANT TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE, CHECK OUT THE LIST BELOW
When is it? September 2021, 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
Wednesday, Sept. 1 – Saturday, Sept. 4 (4 foods)
1. Broccoli – Kicking off the challenge again this year is…. (drumroll)… Broccoli! (prostate cancer’s least favorite 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. Check out our blog on broccoli and prostate cancer here.
2. Extra virgin olive oil – EVOO is the only food-derivative we have included in our challenge. While we usually advocate for the whole plant, olive oil is a special case. Extra virgin, first cold press, unfiltered (meaning microscopic bits of olive remain) olive oil seems to have substantial anti-inflammatory anti-cancer properties, enough for us to make an exception to our no-processed-food rule.
3. Blackberries – Blackberries are a superfood. These sweet fruits are low in calories but have a dense nutrient profile, making them the perfect snack. Blackberries 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.
4. Sauerkraut – “Sour cabbage” is, as the name suggests, simply cabbage—fermented (made through the activity of microbes) with water and salt. It’s got all of the health benefits of that cruciferous vegetable in a special, savory form. While more research is needed on the specific benefits of fermented veggies, one small study of patients with irritable bowel syndrome found that eating sauerkraut improved their symptoms. Learn more about fermented foods.
Sunday, Sept. 5 – Saturday, Sept. 11 (7 foods)
1. Collard greens – Collard greens are a superfood! Like broccoli, collards are cruciferous vegetables. These leafy greens are high in anti-cancer antioxidants, vitamins (including A, C, and K), calcium, and iron. If you’re taking warfarin and need to keep your vitamin K intake constant, watch the volume of collard greens you eat. Read more on leafy greens.
2. 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). See the scoop on soy.
3. Jicama – If you haven’t tried jicama before, you’re in for a treat. Crunchy, fresh, with a just a hint of sweetness, jicama is the perfect vehicle for a healthy dip. While not brightly colored, jicama makes the cut due to its high fiber content. Eating a variety of different high-fiber plant foods helps maintain a diverse gut microbiome, supporting your immune system, metabolism, and other body processes.
4. 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.
5. 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).
6. Plantain – Featured in traditional African and South American cooking, plantains are a great source of a particular kind of fiber called “resistant starch.” This carbohydrate passes through the small intestine and acts as a prebiotic to feed your microbiome and help with digestion. They also contain soluble fiber, which has also been shown to lower blood glucose and cholesterol. Plantains are often served deep-fried, but we suggest a simple oven-baked alternative. Note that plantains aren’t on the master periodic table, so why are they here? To drive home that there may be as many as 300,000 species of edible plants out there just waiting to try. Variety really is the spice of life.
7. 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 in our blog.
Sunday, Sept. 12 – Saturday, Sept. 18 (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…..like 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. Learn more about lentils here.
6. Beets – With their vibrant range of colors (red-purple and golden-yellow) and earthy flavor, beets can steal the show in any dish. Those striking colors come from betalains, naturally occurring pigments with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (Note: Some people may get a reminder of eating beets several hours later, when they produce red-colored urine or stool.) Don’t throw out those nutrient-rich green tops—though due to their high vitamin K content, consume with caution if you’re taking warfarin.
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.
Sunday, Sept. 19 – Saturday, Sept. 25 (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. Squashes also have a natural sweetness, and can be combined with a little (little!) brown sugar and cinnamon to provide an unusual and satisfying dessert option!
3. Cauliflower – In the same cruciferous vegetable family as broccoli, cauliflower contains high amounts of isothiocyanates, which, among other benefits, help your cells excrete carcinogens. Cauliflower is an exception to the principle of brightly-colored vegetables – it still packs a nutritional punch. Mix it up by trying the purple, orange, or green varieties.
4. Brown rice – Carbohydrates, in the form of whole grains, are not the enemy! Brown rice is a versatile grain, containing fiber, vitamins and minerals. The brown comes from the bran and germ layers of the grain, which has most of the good stuff and has been removed from white rice. Brown rice is also a winner for anyone who follows a gluten-free or low-gluten eating plan.
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. Check out our blogs on soy and fermented foods for more info.
7. Red bell pepper – Full of vitamins and antioxidants, red peppers can be a bright, nutritious addition to so many recipes: salads, stir-fry, stuffed with whole grains and spices, or used as a vehicle for a healthy dip. They’re milder in flavor than the green variety, but can be expensive, so feel free to substitute green peppers instead.
Sunday, Sept. 26 – Thursday, Sept. 30 (5 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. Pinto beans – Pinto 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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 www.pcf.org.
Thank you for stepping up and taking the Eat It to Beat It Challenge!