The ‘Mo’ in Movember fondly refers to the best moustache a man can grow during the 30 days of November. By doing so, the fraternity of participating men, also referred to as ‘mo bros’, become walking poster boys for the cause. Women can also play a role by supporting the men in their lives to participate.
This is a valiant effort because prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men; one in eight men, or six percent of the male population, will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.
Risk factors include age, race (more common in men of African or Caribbean descent), diet (low fibre, low-fruit and vegetable, possibly low in vitamin D), being over-weight or obese and level of activity (risk increases with a sedentary lifestyle).
Regular testing increases the likelihood that early cancer is detected when there are more treatment options; earlier treatment increases the chance of curing it. Testing includes digital rectal exams, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and biopsy.
The good news is that there are several nutrients found in everyday foods that have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Getting more of these cancer butt-kicking superstars is as easy and tasty as including more foods and recipes that include them.
Check out the following recipes and learn about their prostate-healthy ingredients.
The Garden Tomato, Basil and Chicken Tart is an easy to assemble dish that can be served on its own or paired with a side salad. Tomatoes provide lycopene; a carotenoid, or plant pigment that is a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene is unique in that it is concentrated in the prostate where it provides protection to prostate cells. Lycopene also helps to reduce inflammation thereby reducing the risk for cancer. Lycopene is better absorbed from cooked tomatoes and tomato products, especially when those foods are eaten with some fat. The fat naturally found in chicken and the olive oil help to increase the absorption of this potent plant compound. Classic Chicken Cacciatore is another dish that is big on flavour with a decent amount of lycopene per serving.
Mushrooms are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Garlicky Basil Chicken in Mushroom Caps is a tasty way to get this essential nutrient. Vitamin D not only helps maintain healthy bones and teeth; research has shown it helps reduce the risk for many other chronic diseases, including prostate cancer. Many Canadians struggle to get enough vitamin D year round since the sun is our best source of it, and once autumn sets in, we suffer a shortfall until late spring and even into the following summer. Including more vitamin D-rich foods is an important first step to getting enough of this important nutrient. Herb Chicken & Mushroom Spaghetti works well with any kind of mushroom.
Studies have shown that those who eat more vitamin E-rich foods have lower rates of chronic disease including prostate cancer. Getting enough vitamin E can be a little more challenging compared to other nutrients because it’s not found in a lot of foods. Best sources are nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, wheat germ and good quality oils. This Cashew Chili Stir-Fry has vitamin E-rich cashews that are paired with flavourful ingredients such as ginger, garlic, soy, chili flakes and hoisin sauce for an Asian-inspired meal.
Selenium is a mineral that is needed by the body to make several important antioxidants; compounds that help to reduce the risk for chronic diseases. Decent sources of selenium include chicken and whole grains like brown rice. Spiced Chicken, Spinach & Brown Rice Salad has both. How easy it that?
Zinc is a mineral that is critical for many physiological processes; it helps to protect our DNA from damage and helps with its repair. Zinc is especially important for prostate health and may protect it from early damage which may lead to prostate cancer. Try these Smoked Cajun Legs for a meal with 5 simple ingredients; getting zinc never tasted so good.
Crucifer vegetables, such as broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, turnip, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are a unique group of vegetables that are anti-cancer superstars. They help the liver to detoxify cancer-causing compounds and can change precancerous cells back to normal healthy ones. Try Broccoli Bocconcini & Chicken Salad, or Roast Chicken & Cauliflower for a dose of one of these superstar cancer-fighting vegetables.
Pulses, also known as chickpeas, lentils, dried peas and beans, are also associated with lower rates of cancer, including prostate cancer. They contain fibre, vitamins, minerals and unique phytonutrients called polyphenols such as isoflavones. Pulses are also a rich source of plant protein that pair well with chicken. Try this Feta, Bean Medley & Chicken Salad for an easy-to-prepare dish. It can be served as a main or as a side.