Now there’s another reason to eat your veggies: for their fat. A recent animal study suggests that plant fats, called phytosterols, may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo took a look at phytosterols’ role in the development of certain hormone-dependent cancers, such as prostate cancer. The study, published in the December 1998 Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that phytosterols may influence testosterone metabolism in rat liver, testes, and prostate tissue. By reducing high levels of testosterone and other enzymes, phytosterols may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
The study also found that rats fed a phytosterol-rich diet over twenty-two days had a 33 percent reduction of testosterone in their bloodstream. The enzymes 5-a reductase and aromatase, known for their role in the development of prostate cancer, were reduced by 44 percent and 55 percent, respectively.
The research, according to this study, may explain why vegetarians and Asian men, who typically consume little meat, have a lower rate of hormone-dependent cancers.
Awad, A. B., et al. “Phytosterol feeding induces alteration in testosterone metabolism in rat tissues.” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry December 1998, 9:712–717.