A new study has found that men who eat at least 400g of broccoli a week (around three servings) may be at a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer due to broccoli’s ability to modify the expression of certain genes involved in the development of prostate cancer.
The study was carried out by researchers from Norwich in the United Kingdom and was published in the July issue of the journal PLoS One. Researchers followed 22 men aged between 57 and 70 who were at high risk of developing prostate cancer. The men were divided into two groups, the first group consumed 400g of broccoli a week while the second group consumed 400g of peas a week in addition to their normal diets.
The researchers found that broccoli altered the expression of certain genes thought to be involved in the formation and development of prostate cancer and that the changes suggested both a reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer and a reduction in the probability of a slow growing, localized cancer becoming more aggressive. Men on the high pea diet however did not experience significant changes in gene expression.
The study backs up several other studies that have suggested consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, bok choy, brussel sprouts and watercress leads to a reduction in prostate cancer risk. Cruciferous vegetables contain powerful compounds such as glucosinolates, sulforaphanes, and isothiocyanates which are thought to inhibit the growth and development of cancerous cells. Peas on the other hand do not have these compounds.
According to lead author Richard Mithen of the Institute of Food Research in Britain, it is recommended that men, particularly those at a high risk of prostate cancer, should eat between two and three servings of cruciferous vegetables a week.
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