Prostate cancer is a complex disease. No single factor determines whether a man will be diagnosed with it or not. However, diet might play a protective role, according to some recent research. Among the unlikely stars on the plate: mushrooms (International Journal of Cancer, Sept. 4. 2019).
How Mushrooms in the Diet Affect Prostate Cancer Risk in Japan:
Scientists conducting a long-term study have reported that mushrooms in the diet may lower the chance of prostate cancer. They have been following 36,499 Japanese men for more than a decade. Japanese people love the taste of mushrooms and believe they have health benefits. As a result, Japanese cooks utilize several different distinctive varieties, such as shiitake and maitake, in popular dishes.
What Is the Evidence?
The researchers did studies both in test tubes and on animals. Both lines of research indicated that compounds in the edible fungi have anti-prostate cancer properties.
Some of the men participated in the study for up to 25 years. During that time, they answered questions about their dietary habits, medical history, smoking, exercise and other elements of lifestyle. Men over 50 who reported consuming mushrooms most frequently were 17 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. If they ate a fungi-rich dish at least three times a week, they lowered their risk of diagnosis by as much as 30 percent.
The investigators concluded:
“The present study showed an inverse relationship between mushroom consumption and incident prostate cancer among middle‐aged and elderly Japanese men, suggesting that habitual mushroom intake might help to prevent prostate cancer.”