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Men with prostate cancer may want to say 'yes' to vegetable fat

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Nearly 30,000 men die of prostate cancer in the U.S. each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. This is one of the many reasons why men - especially those who are middle-aged - should get regular blood tests to make sure that they are healthy. Obesity is one of the main risk factors for developing this disease, so men need to make sure they eat healthy foods if they want to reduce their chances of having prostate cancer.

Recently, researchers the University of California, San Francisco, found that one change men who are either concerned about prostate cancer or already have the disease may want to make to their diets is to replace carbohydrates and animal fat with vegetable fat. The scientists found that doing this may help reduce the risk of death in men with non​-metastatic prostate cancer.

Vegetable fat is superior
To come to their conclusions, the scientists examined nearly 4,600 men with non​-metastatic prostate cancer between 1986 and 2010. They found that men who replaced 10 percent of their carbohydrate calories each day with vegetable fat experienced a 29 percent lower risk of lethal prostate cancer, compared to those who did not change their diet. Furthermore, they also experienced 26 percent lower risk of death overall.

"Overall, our findings support counseling men with prostate cancer to follow a heart-healthy diet in which carbohydrate calories are replaced with unsaturated oils and nuts to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality. … The potential benefit of vegetable fat consumption for prostate cancer-specific outcomes merits further research," wrote researchers Erin Richman, Sc.D. and colleagues.

Good sources of vegetable fat
Some men may not know the best way to get vegetable fat into their diet. When most people think of vegetables, they usually think of them as all being low in fat because they are healthy. However, these people are looking at fat all wrong. There are different types of fat, and while saturated and trans fats - which are often found in snack foods and baked goods - tend to be bad for the body, there are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in vegetables that can be beneficial.

Avocados are a great source of vegetable fat, as are olives. Men may want to start small and use olive oil while cooking instead of butter, and add avocado spread to their sandwiches rather than the usual mayonnaise or other fatty condiment.

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