by Jeanne Ricks
There were 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2012, according to the American Cancer Society. Diet can play a strong role in preventing prostate cancer, new research shows. Among the many risks cited, consumption of dietary fat from meat and dairy products account for the most alarming associations.
Several studies link dairy consumption with increased risk of mortality in advanced stages of prostate cancer. International case-control and cohort studies conducted from Uruguay to Japan show links between consuming one to three 8oz glasses of milk a day and increased prostate cancer risk.
Several factors may explain the link between dairy products and prostate cancer. Research illustrates the adverse effects of milk’s high-calcium content on vitamin D metabolism. Too much calcium can inhibit vitamin D absorption and vitamin D protects the prostate. Consumption of milk also increases serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1), which can promote growth of prostate tumors. Those who follow a vegan diet generally have a 9 percent lower level of IGF-1 when compared with meat-eaters.
Milk’s low-fiber and high-fat qualities increase the levels of hormones that negatively affect cell division, putting men who drink large amounts at a higher risk. Plant foods, such as tomatoes, soymilk, and green and yellow vegetables are associated with lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Reducing dairy consumption and building a healthy diet full of plants and fiber helps fight prostate cancer, not to mention other associated benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, less saturated fat, and reduced blood pressure.