Can Eating Vegetables Reduce Prostate Cancer Progression?

How many servings of vegetables do you eat daily? A new study from Harvard researchers found that men who have prostate cancer who consumed the most broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables had a nearly 60 percent reduced risk of  prostate cancer progression than men who ate the least amount of these vegetables.

Much of the research about the impact of food choices on prostate cancer progression has involved animal studies, while evidence to support men eating more vegetables has not been as plentiful. That’s why a Harvard team did a prospective study among 1,560 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer to identify the impact of cruciferous vegetables, tomato sauce, and legumes on prostate cancer progression. The researchers also looked at other types of vegetables as well as fruits.

All the men reported on how much fruits and vegetables they ate, and the researchers also reviewed their medical records and urologists’ reports. Follow-up was from 2004 to 2009. Overall, prostate cancer progressed in 134 men, which included four deaths from the disease.

The good news was that men who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables after their diagnosis had a 59 percent decreased risk of prostate cancer when compared with men who shied away from these vegetables.

Another recent study also found that men who ate greater amounts of leafy green vegetables had a 34 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer when compared with men who ate the least amount of these vegetables. When we combine the results of these two studies, it appears that cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression, while leafy greens cut the risk of aggressive disease. All toll, that’s an impressive number of vegetables that help fight prostate cancer and a good reason to increase your intake of these foods.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Hardin J et al. Impact of consumption of vegetable, fruit, grain, and high glycemic index foods on aggressive prostate cancer risk. Nutrition and Cancer 2011 Aug-Sept; 63(6): 860-72

Richman EL et al. Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. International Journal of Cancer 2011 Aug 5;

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