While discussions of healthy fats usually center on heart health, a recent study links those same fats to the prostate. Published in Jama Internal Medicine online in June, the study followed the lives of 4,577 men from 1986 to 2010. The common denominator of these men was a diagnosis of nonmestatic cancer of the prostate. In other words, the cancer had not yet spread outside the prostate. While the results are not definitive, it gives strong evidence that eating healthy fats is not just good for your heart, but may help your prostate too.
Fats and Carbs
Basically, the study monitored the effect of fat and carbohydrates and their apparent effect on death in the study individuals. For those men who replaced 10% of their carbohydrates with vegetable fats, there was a lower rate of death both from prostate cancer and all other causes. The same proved true for those replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier fats. Most of the vegetable oil intake came through salad dressings and nuts, and it was found that the men who consumed the most vegetable oils lived the longest and their cancer appeared less likely to spread past the prostate.
Eating the Fats
While more research needs to be done in prove the connection between healthy fats and preventing the spread of prostate cancer, it does beg the question, “If it appears helpful for those with prostate cancer, why not use it as a preventative?” After all, we already know healthy fats are food for the heart, so getting a benefit for the prostate is simply an added bonus.
So, what healthy oils should you be consuming? Check out these suggestions:
- Avocados -given a bad rap because of their high fat content, avocados are actually one of nature’s best gifts. Yes, they are high in fat, but the good kind of fat that helps your heart and your joints. In addition, phytochemicals found in avocados were shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells in a study conducted by Ohio State University.
- Walnuts – proven to help lower cholesterol levels in blood, walnuts are a tasty way to get healthy fats into your diet. Walnuts contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid that many researchers say can help prevent diseases such as arthritis and heart disease. Alpha-linolenic acid may also help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as help with asthma.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – if you have eaten at one of several popular Italian food restaurants, you have probably been served bread with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. That tasty treat was actually good for your heart and your prostate. Rich in good fats, olive oil also contains an abundance of polyphenols which may help prevent cancer, improve memory, and help both bone and digestive health.
Of course, there are other healthy vegetable fats out there, but these three are a pretty good start down the path to incorporating these power-packed oils into your diet. Remember, though, all things in moderation! While these fats are good for you, they need to be consumed in balance with a healthy diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, wholesome grains, and healthy meats.
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