According to the American Cancer Society, about 180,890 new prostate cancer diagnoses will be made in 2016. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that these benefits of a vegan diet are associated with a 35% reduction in risk for prostate cancer:
1. Reduced Levels of IGF-1 Hormone
Vegans don’t get any of their protein from animals. Animal protein increases levels of a body hormone called IGF-1, which prevents the body from destroying damaged cells that could potentially become cancerous. By keeping IGF-1 level low, vegans’ bodies can consistently destroy these bad cells.
2. Lower Saturated Fat Intake
By avoiding dairy products, vegans limit their saturated fat intake. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, saturated fat intake is linked to a higher rate of prostate cancer.
3. Higher Insulin Resistance
Avoiding certain animal-based fats like dairy and meat raises insulin sensitivity. Higher insulin sensitivity allows vegans to better digest carbs and absorb nutrients. The National Cancer Institute has linked high insulin sensitivity to lower rates of prostate cancer.
4. Reduced Inflammation
By regularly consuming foods rich in antioxidants, vegans have a lower level of inflammation which causes DNA damage in cells. Chronic inflammation is suspected to cause at least 20% of prostate cancer diagnoses.
5. Higher Soy Intake
Vegans generally consume more soy than meat-eaters. A study done in 42 countries looked at the relationship between diet and prostate cancer. Researchers concluded that soy is one of the most effective food in helping reduce the risk of death from prostate cancer. A molecule formed in the intestine when soy is digested stops a hormone called DHT, which activates prostate cancer.