New research shows: Carrots can reduce the risk of prostate cancer

Scientists have found that regularly eating the brightly-coloured vegetables appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by almost a fifth.

Men who included carrots as part of their regular diet, eating them at least three times a week, were 18 per cent less likely to develop a prostate tumour, according to findings published in the latest European Journal of Nutrition.

The study, by scientists at Zhejiang University in China, pulled together the results of ten smaller studies from different parts of the world looking at the anti-cancer effects of carrots. This type of research, called a meta-analysis, is performed when findings from lots of studies with small numbers of patients produce conflicting findings.

Scientists pooled data from ten studies and looked at the overall effects on cancer risk. Most of the studies looked at cancer rates in men who ate carrots three to five times a week compared with men who ate them once a week or less. When the individual results were combined, researchers found carrots had a significant impact on disease rates, even when they allowed for other factors that could increase the men's risk of illness -such as if they were obese.

It's not exactly clear how carrots might exert their protective effect but they are known to be a good source of carotenoids - chemicals that give them their bright orange pigments. The best-known carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, have long been considered potentially powerful weapons against cancer by reducing damage to cells by oxidative stress.

In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'We found a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer associated with a high intake of carrots. 'Several potential mechanisms could explain the association between carrot consumption and the risk of prostate cancer. But further well-designed studies are warranted to confirm our findings.'


Publication date: 4/4/2014