Scientists have developed a cook book to help tackle prostate cancer, entitled the Prostate Care Cookbook. The authors have said it is the first of its kind, with recipes designed around ingredients with known prostate cancer fighting properties.
The recipes in the book are “evidence-based cooking” and have been created for those with the disease or people known to be susceptible to it.
“There is growing scientific evidence that strongly suggests that diets rich in certain foods can help prevent this disease or its spread,” the authors write . “For those living with the condition, a controlled diet may be the only means of active treatment.”
Margaret Rayman, Professor of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey who was the lead author of the book said that while prostate cancer is the most common type for men, some of the available treatments are actually more dangerous than the disease itself.
“It’s often quite indolent and slow-growing. So there may be something you can do with diet.” Foods like onions and garlic, broccoli and cauliflower, fish and tomatoes, all have proven evidence to reduce the spread of the disease as well as decreasing the risk of getting it in the first place.
However Professor Rayman said, “It’s not just what you eat but how you cook it.” When garlic or onions are chopped, they produce an enzyme, alliinase, that produces anti-cancer compounds, however these properties disappear if they are heated straight away.
“The secret is you’ve got to leave the vegetables to stand for ten minutes before cooking to allow the alliinase to do its work,” Professor Rayman told the British Science Festival.
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, rocket and radish, also need to be chopped but only lightly cooked. “Cook them lightly, steam them or eat them raw,” Professor Rayman added.
With tomatoes she advises using chopped or processed ones to get the most out of them, “a sauce made from a tin of plum tomatoes would be ideal”.
The book, which was created in collaboration with the charity Prostate Cancer Research Foundation, has recipe contributions from the likes of celebrity chefs like Raymond Blanc and Antony Worrall Thompson.
Professor Rayman added that her objective was to offer “food that everyone in the family can eat, not something precious”.
The recipes are two fold as they also omit some foods that are considered risky in contributing to the development of prostate cancer, like dairy products, saturated fat or processed meat.
While Professor Rayman advises against leaving milk out of the diet altogether she does say, “you shouldn’t be pigging out on milk or yoghurt”.
Each year approximately 35,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with the disease, which makes up 22 per cent of all cancers. However, only 12 per cent of deaths from cancer in men are caused by prostate cancer, so doctors commonly advise older patients to keep an eye on it rather than having drastic surgery that could lead to significant side-effects like erectile dysfunction.
Professor Rayman added that people controlling their own diets better gives them the opportunity to oversee their treatment.
“There’s also a psychological benefit to doing something about your own condition,” she said.
Roasted tomato and sweet potato soup (Serves 4) 450g sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1.2kg tomatoes, halved Two tablespoons olive oil One large onion, chopped into wedges Two garlic cloves, sliced Salt and pepper One small bunch of basil leaves, torn, plus extra to garnish One tablespoon of tomato puree
1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6
2 Parboil the sweet potatoes in a saucepan for five minutes, drain and leave to cool
3 Place all the ingredients except the tomato puree on a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil
4 Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through
5 Once removed from the oven, pick any burnt skins off the tomatoes, which will come away easily
6 Whizz all the ingredients, along with 600ml water and the tomato puree, in a blender or processor