Monday, October 20, 2008

Heartier Seasonal Meals Can Help Prevent Cancer

(StatePoint) The way to most men's hearts is still through their stomachs. So what better way to broach the topic of prostate cancer with your loved one than by preparing a delicious meal designed to keep him healthy while grabbing his attention?

Many people -- especially men -- think that eating healthy means giving up the foods they love. That just doesn't have to be the case.

"Home cooks are often surprised that they can still enjoy many of their favorite dishes while maintaining a healthier diet," says Beth Ginsberg, a chef long regarded for her use of natural ingredients.

Indeed, Ginsberg has created a free, easy-to-prepare menu geared toward prostate health -- featuring such seasonal favorites as cream of tomato soup, meatloaf, corn pudding and apple cobbler. All the recipes may be downloaded for free at prostatecancerfoundation.org/menu.

Of course, the recipes all have a healthful twist. Turkey and chicken are combined to replace beef in meatloaf, vanilla soy milk is blended into corn pudding, and soybeans are added to a tasty side dish of peas and wild mushrooms.

"Creating a diet to help prevent prostate cancer not only requires taking things out, such as fat, it also means building in new ingredients such as antioxidants and soy protein," explains Ginsberg.

And it's not just what you cook; it's how you cook it. While eating right for the prostate means adding such ingredients as broccoli and tomatoes -- both of which have been proven beneficial -- it is also important to prepare food the right way.

Charring meats at high temperatures, for instance, can create cancer-causing carcinogens that lodge in the prostate. These may cause errors in reading and replicating DNA, resulting in mutations that can contribute to prostate cancer formation. According to experts, eating an eight-ounce charred steak is the rough equivalent of having your prostate smoke a pack-and-a-half of cigarettes.

But cooking right is only part of the battle.

While prostate cancer strikes one out of every six American men (one out of three with a family history) and is the second most prevalent form of cancer, it is perhaps the least discussed. Put simply: men don't like talking about diseases below the belt.

"Sitting down to eat a prostate-healthy meal is a great time to talk to your husband or partner about the importance of annual screenings and early detection for prostate cancer," adds Ginsberg. "They need to take control of their prostate health, striking at cancer before it strikes them."

Early detection and treatment remain the best weapons against prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that men over the age of 50 get checked annually for prostate cancer and those with a family history begin testing at 45. All men over 40 should speak with their doctors to develop a proactive prostate health plan right for them.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), more than 28,000 American men are projected to die from prostate cancer this year. With the aging of the baby boomers, it's estimated that the number of new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. will increase by 60 percent to more than 300,000 in 2015. By then more than three million American men may be battling prostate cancer.

For more healthy recipes, read Beth Ginsberg's two popular cookbooks, "The Taste for Living Cookbook" and "The Taste for Living World Cookbook," which can each be ordered on the PCF Web site at www.pcf.org.

Information on prostate cancer prevention, detection and treatment also can be found on the PCF site.

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