Eating turmeric, red grapes and apples could help to ‘starve’ prostate cancer cells


Eating turmeric, red grapes and apples can help men to protect themselves against prostate cancer, according to new research.

A study found that mice who were fed the ingredients were able to ‘starve’ prostate cancer cells.

When eaten in combination, the ingredients can kill off cancer cells by stopping tumours from taking up the compounds they need to grow.

And regularly eating meals with all three ingredients could effectively reduce a man’s risk of prostate cancer, researchers added.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among males, affecting one in eight men in the UK and one in seven in the US.

What did the study find?
Previous studies have pinpointed a number of natural compounds that could reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

In this study, researchers used genetic techniques to analyse 142 natural compounds to find those that could destroy cancer cells.

The chosen compounds were then tested on prostate cancer cells derived from both humans and mice.

Researchers found three compounds were most effective at killing off tumour cells.

‘After screening a natural compound library, we developed an unbiased look at combinations of nutrients that have a better effect on prostate cancer than existing drugs,’ said Stefano Tiziani, assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Texas.

‘The beauty of this study is that we were able to inhibit tumour growth in mice without toxicity.’

The first compound was curcumin, the bright yellow ingredient found in turmeric.

Another compound was ursolic acid, which is found in apple peel.

And the third was resveratrol, which is found in red grapes and wine, as well as berries.

How do the ingredients kill prostate cancer?
The three compounds were then tested in mice with induced prostate cancer.

Scientists found that when ursolic acid was combined with either of the other compounds, tumours began to shrink.

This is because the natural compounds prevent cancer cells from taking up glutamine, an amino acid that is essential to tumour growth.

And the naturally-occurring compounds did not have any toxic effects on the mice, the researchers said.

But the researchers warned that the concentrations of the ingredients used in the study were much higher than what is normally consumed through diet.

‘These nutrients have potential anti-cancer properties and are readily available,’ said Professor Tiziani.

‘We only need to increase concentration beyond levels found in a healthy diet for an effect on prostate cancer cells.’

The research was published in the journal Precision Oncology.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among males, affecting one in eight men in the UK and one in seven in the US.

It usually develops slowly and often produces no signs for many years.

The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis that is only in men. It helps to produce semen.

Symptoms tend to appear when the gland becomes so large that it affects the tube that carries urine to the penis.

This may cause an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating or feeling the bladder is not empty.

The risk increases with age and those with family members who have suffered.