I’ve been talking about the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet for nearly as long as I’ve been in practice. My two biggest diet book successes were both variations on that theme — that a diet rich in fish, vegetables, olives, and macadamia nut oil (with a limited intake of sugar and processed foods) is the key to a longer life.
So it’s always nice to come across a study that confirms exactly what I’ve been telling my patients and readers for years.
The latest finding to add to the ever-growing file: Mediterranean-style eating lowers the risk of aggressive prostate cancer more effectively than any other diet pattern. That was the conclusion of a recent study of nearly 2,000 Spanish men between the ages of 38 and 85.
And it’s a big deal, too. Because while men are far more likely to live with prostate cancer than to die from it — by 80 years old, 80 percent of men will have the disease — aggressive prostate cancer is the kind that will actually kill you.
I can’t think of a better advertisement for using food as medicine. Because as simple as it sounds, the fact is that the right food can keep you well — even cure you. And this study is a prime example of that simple truth.
Researchers assessed for subjects’ adherence to three types of diets. The Mediterranean diet was one of them. Then there was a Western diet pattern — better known as the Standard American Diet (SAD) — packed with refined grains, processed meats, sodas, sweets, and fast food. And finally, there was the deceptively named the “Prudent” diet pattern, consisting of low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and juices.
The researchers correlated dietary adherence to prostate cancer risk — and more specifically, to tumor aggressiveness (as measured by the men’s Gleason scores, determined from prostate cancer biopsy results) and disease stage.
Once all the numbers had been crunched, they found that men who stuck the most closely to a Mediterranean diet had a 34 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. And the likelihood of advanced cancer was also more than 50 percent lower in this group, compared to men who didn’t eat Mediterranean-style.
But that’s not the only discovery that vindicated some of my oldest dietary advice. Results revealed another trend that no one in my readership should be shocked by — which is that men who ate the lowest fat diets had a 60 percent higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Look, I know that we’ve covered all of this ground before. And I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here. But let’s face it — prostate cancer is hands down the most common type of cancer in men. And while it usually isn’t deadly, it obviously can be.
The key to preventing prostate cancer death is slowing or stopping the disease’s progression in its tracks. And while we shouldn’t stop looking for effective ways to do exactly that, if the right diet could potentially save your life, wouldn’t you want to follow it?
Then again, maybe I’ve already answered my own question. We’ve linked upwards of 14 different cancers directly to poor diet — and sugar consumption in particular. And yet, people still serve this poison at birthday parties and other celebrations like it’s manna from heaven.
Even when patients do dedicate themselves to fighting back against cancer with diet, they still have a vast wealth of misinformation to navigate. Enough though I devoted an entire article to it back in the July 2014 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives.
If you or someone you love is facing down a cancer diagnosis, I urge you to go back and read that article today. (Not a subscriber? Sign up today.) And get to know its contents like the back of your hand. Because it could save you from making some very common — and very lethal — mistakes.
P.S. – If you’d like to learn more ways to enhance your diet, protect against disease, and increase your longevity, I suggest following my A-List Diet. I lay out every step and include simple meal plans so your path to wellness is as easy as possible.