June 20, 2014 09:48 ET

You Are What You Eat: Food Choices and Cancer Risk

The Physicians Committee Recommends Six Dietary Safeguards That Could Impact Your Cancer-Fighting Odds, Says Prostate Cancer Expert, David B. Samadi

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jun 20, 2014) - This month, researchers at the nonprofit Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine published new cancer prevention dietary guidelines. The recommendations, culled from varied cancer risk studies, are designed to increase consumer awareness about the very real connection between nutrition and disease. The Committee encourages a plant-based diet with emphasis on foods that promote a healthy weight and contain antioxidants and other cancer-fighting properties. Prostate cancer is among the leading cancers discussed in the guidelines.

As a leading New York robotic prostate surgeon, David Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, encourages patients to consider the large body of evidence supporting these guidelines. "Limiting meat consumption and focusing on natural verses processed foods are things we can all do easily. Why not take advantage of controllable ways to improve wellness and hopefully prevent prostate cancer and other cancers?"

Foods that help you prevent or fight cancer:

1) Soy product - Soy protein reduces prostate cancer risk, recurrence, and mortality. Natural forms of soy are best - organic tofu, tempeh, and edamame.

2) Fruits and veggies - Consuming higher quantities of fruits and vegetables helps both men and women fight a wide range of cancers including colorectal, stomach, lung, and gastric cancers. Tomatoes and tomato products are packed with antioxidants, while leafy greens, broccoli, and kale contain additional cancer fighters. Carotenoid-rich vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes help women fight breast cancer.

Foods found to increase cancer risk:

1) Dairy - Prostate cancer risk climbs 32 percent per 35 grams of dairy protein/day and as much as 60 percent per two glasses of milk each day. Calcium supplements of more than 400 milligrams per day increase fatal prostate cancer risk by 51 percent.

2) Alcohol - Just one drink of wine, beer, or spirits per week can increase risk of oral cancers -- mouth, pharynx, and larynx -- by 24 percent. Colorectal cancer risk increases 21 percent when 2-3 drinks are consumed daily.

3) Red meat and processed meat - Colorectal cancer risk increases 28 percent per 120-gram daily serving of red meat and 21 percent per 50-gram daily serving of processed meat. Researchers believe that red and processed meats encourage the growth of cancerous cells.

4) Grilled, fried, and broiled meat - The cooking temperatures and times of meat are associated with increased risk of colon cancer and rectal cancer. Cooked meats are also linked to prostate cancer, as well as breast, kidney, and pancreatic cancers.

"Over the years, Americans have adopted diets that are very high in meats in fats. Unfortunately, we've grown accustomed to convenience foods that do more harm than good," said Dr. Samadi. "The risks are real and with very manageable modifications we have the potential to change our health forecast."

The guidelines details are available online at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and will be published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition June 30 issue.

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