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Food is Medicine

Although we may consider the phrase “food is medicine” to be part of our society’s more recent trend towards healthy eating, this phrase is actually attributed to Hippocrates, the Greek founder of Western Medicine (circa 400BC).

“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”

How can food play a role?

Thankfully, we do not have to rely solely on food as medicine as they had to way back in 400 BC, but let’s consider that our food choices can make a big difference in our recovery and quality of life. And a great thing about living in the 21st century is that we have wonderful science to help us make good choices.

As I read through recent literature including my previously quote review article, the 2015 review in BMC Medicine (Nutrition, Dietary Interventions, and Prostate Cancer), I do recognize how confusing the research can be with one study conflicting another.1 As a prostate cancer patient researching and studying which treatment options to choose, the idea of now weeding through more literature and recommendations could be overwhelming for sure. My hope is that this article will provide a direction that will make your food choices more simplified.

An option: the mediterranean diet

Here is my simple recommendation: The Mediterranean Diet. Why this one? The 2015 article conclusion states this:

“For counseling patients on diet for primary and secondary PCa prevention, many believe ‘heart-healthy‘ equals prostate healthy.”

The Mayo Clinic offers the following advice:

“If you are looking for a heart-healthy diet plan, the Mediterranean Diet might be right for you.”

Science News quotes a 2018 article in the Journal of Urology as stating:

“If other researchers confirm these results, the promotion of the Mediterranean dietary pattern might be an efficient way of reducing the risk of developing advanced PC, in addition to lowering the risk of other prevalent health problems in men such as cardiovascular disease. Dietary recommendations should take into account whole patterns instead of focusing on individual foods.”2

Diet is all about balance

The bottom line is that the totality of what you eat matters more than eating a single food or even eliminating a single food or food group. Adopting an overall plan of eating pulling from a good variety of foods should help simplify the process.

Make no mistake, if you currently eat Frosted Flakes or Pop-Tarts for breakfast and pull through McDonald’s for lunch, this will be a change and may take some effort. Slow and steady progress towards changing habits is the best way to achieve the goal of lifestyle and food choice changes. Be kind and gentle with yourself, no judgments. Of course, if you choose to cut out processed, fast food cold turkey and move immediately into a more healthful and cancer-fighting diet, then go for it!

Find what works best for you

The beauty of a simplified choice is that there is plenty of information online about what the Mediterranean diet is and recipes that will allow you to eat delicious food that will help you feel better and may even help in your prostate cancer care. Win/ Win.

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” — Hippocrates

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Lin, P., Aronson, W. & Freedland, S.J. Nutrition, dietary interventions and prostate cancer: the latest evidence. BMC Med 13, 3 (2015) doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0234-y
  2. Elsevier. "A more complete Mediterranean diet may protect against aggressive prostate cancer: New study finds that a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains might not be enough." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180110123822.htm>.

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