Dietary inclusion of red fruits and vegetables such as peppers, beets, tomatoes, watermelons and guavas, might possibly lower the risk of prostate cancer.

High levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the body is generally associated with a heightened risk of developing prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). PSA is a protein produced by prostate gland cells.

However, high levels of PSA, does not necessarily indicate cancer, but just that the prostate might be infected, inflamed or enlarged. Only performing further tests and biopsies can determine if it is cancer or not. Nevertheless, the link of PSA levels to cancer cannot be overlooked, and is an important factor to monitor.

In terms of natural methods to combat prostate cancer, some evidence points to lycopene, a naturally occurring chemical that gives certain food their reddish hue, might actually be effective in lowering the PSA levels in the body. With this, comes the reduced risks of developing cancer.

Moreover, red fruits and vegetables contain ample natural nutrients that are effective in combating cancerous cells. In particular, vitamin D found abundantly in red fruits and vegetables is great for fighting prostate cancer.

The intake of lycopene supplements may not be as effective as the natural product, says Barbara Quinn, a nutritionist affiliated with the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Hence, it is recommended to consume red fruits and vegetables to be on the safer side. Moreover, she adds that the absorption of lycopene happens in a much effectual way if cooked with a healthy fat such as olive oil.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer affecting men in the United States, only second to skin cancer, states the NCI as well as the American Cancer Society. The statistics are alarming - one American man in every five has a disturbing potential to develop prostate cancer.

Men most at risk of acquiring the disease are those who have crossed the age of 50, those with a family history of prostate cancer and African American men.

Photo: Sven Schiffer | Flickr

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