Protect the Prostate with Pomegranates

How do you keep the prostate healthy? Well, if you watch a lot of TV commercials, you probably think it's best accomplished by popping a pill. But for men looking to prevent prostate cancer through nutrition, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more prostate-protective food than the yummy pomegranate.

The health benefits of pomegranates are well-established. Past studies indicate pomegranates are positively boiling over with antioxidants, as UCLA researchers found that pomegranate juice has more free-radical fighting antioxidants than any other juice. In another study (also from UCLA), findings indicated that pomegranates were loaded with anti-cancer benefits, as "the seeded apple" (i.e., the nickname for the seed/aril-laden pomegranate) helped to minimize the progression of cancerous tumors in lab rats.

And with the most recent finding that pomegranate juice helps protect the prostate, it's a bit more grist to add to an already full mill.

The in-vitro experiment mixed the pomegranate's elligitannins, the antioxidant that's believed to be effective in fighting various diseases, with an enzyme that's often present under cancerous conditions. The enzyme is most commonly referred to as CYP1B1.

By the study's conclusion, the University of Mississippi researchers found that, indeed, the elligitannins were effective in minimizing the enzyme's activity, writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that "systemically available metabolites of pomegranate juice are effective inhibitors of CYP1B1 activity/expression and could lower the incidence of prostate cancer initiation and sustenance."

The researchers went on to write that pomegranate juice has chemoprevention-like properties, making it an ideal juice both for prostate cancer prevention and prostate cancer treatment.

This finding couldn't have come at a better time for cancer patients, as a recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer found that as many as two-thirds of patients in the UK that received chemotherapy for prostate cancer receive it unnecessarily.

Prostate cancer, a cancer found exclusively among men, kills an estimated 200,000 men worldwide (about 28,000 in the U.S. alone) annually. Another 500,000 men worldwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.

Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer in cancer diagnoses among men and second to lung cancer in cancer deaths among men.

There are many risk factors to take into consideration when evaluating risk for prostate cancer (e.g., age, ethnicity, family history), and the American Cancer Society reports that diet is certainly one of them. Several studies suggest that diets high in red meat, but low in fresh produce is one such risk factor. (naturalnews, 11.09.2009, Frank Mangano, See all articles by this author, Email this author)


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