Brassica Growers Association promotes benefits of broccoli consumption for men

The Brassica Growers' Association has run a consumer media PR campaign highlighting to men the benefits of eating broccoli.

The campaign coincided with Father's Day weekend on 20-21 June and drew attention to the fact that, according to studies, eating broccoli can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The disease has overtaken lung cancer to become the most common cancer in men. It affects almost 35,000 men every year in the UK - with one man dying from the disease every hour.

The campaign also heralded the start of the British broccoli season, the Everyman male can- cer awareness month and the re- lease of encouraging information from the Institute of Food Research (IFR) on its ongoing work on the nutritional properties of broccoli.

Professor Richard Mithen of the IFR said: "Epidemiological studies have consistently reported that men who consume a diet relatively rich in Brassica vegetables either have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer or have a lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

"In our research we have been trying to find out how vegetables such as broccoli can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. We have discovered that in men who eat between three or four portions of broccoli (80g) per week there are changes in the expression of particular genes in their prostate gland that are consistent with a reduced risk of cancer, and we think that this is due to naturally occurring phytochemicals that are only found in Brassica vegetables."

Professor Colin Cooper, head of the Everyman Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research, added: "Our understanding of how diet might affect cancer risk is rapidly growing and this research adds to the growing evidence suggesting that eating Brassica vegetables, in particular broccoli, could reduce prostate cancer risk. Further research is needed to confirm the studies. In the meantime, eating a healthy balanced diet, which includes Brassicas, will have benefits to health."

Dr Elizabeth Rapley, a scientific representative for Everyman, a male cancer campaign that raises awareness and funds for research into testicular and prostate cancer, said: "It's great to see Britain's broccoli growers helping to educate people about the important role diet has to play in the reduction of cancer risk.

"Studies linking broccoli consumption to a reduction in prostate cancer risk are promising. However, more research is needed to determine how the chemicals in broccoli act to reduce the risk of prostate cancer."

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