Health column by Dr. Greg Feinsinger. Champion of Whole Food Plant Based Living and righteous person.
This is another column based on Dr. Neal Barnard’s 2020 book “Your Body in Balance, The New Science of Food, Hormones, and Health.” Previous columns in this series have been about female health problems.
TESTICULAR CANCER is the most common cancer in men between ages twenty and forty-five. Dr. Barnard lists the following risk factors: 1) Exposure of a male fetus to excess estrogen, including that made by fat cells of overweight mothers. 2) Exposure to excessive estrogen if a male child or adult is overweight (fat cells manufacture estrogen). 3) Exposure to bovine estrogen in dairy products—which all come from the milk of pregnant cows, which contains excess estrogen associated with pregnancy. Cheese appears to pose the biggest risk. 4) Consumption of processed meats, such as sausage, bacon, lunch meat, ham, and hot dogs.
PROSTATE CANCER: Men and women who carry extra weight around their middle suffer from insulin resistance, where tissues and organs can’t use insulin the way they’re supposed to. To compensate, the pancreas makes more and more insulin, and according to Dr. Barnard these high insulin levels increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Men who drink cows’ milk are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer, and are also at increased risk of dying from it. This is thought to be due to IGF-1 (insulin growth factor-1), which makes baby cows (and humans) grow. Some of the billions of cells in the human body are always mutating, and IGF-1 from cows’ milk causes cancer cells to multiply in adult humans.
The red color in tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit comes from a micronutrient called lycopene, and studies show that men who eat the most lycopene-containing food have the least prostate cancer. Cooking releases the lycopene in tomatoes. Unfermented soy products such as edamame, tofu, and soymilk have been shown to decrease the risk of process cancer. Dr. Dean Ornish, famous for proving some 30 years ago that a plant-based, whole food diet can reverse heart disease, showed more recently that the same diet can reverse early prostate cancer.
EXCESS BREAST TISSUE IN MEN: A small amount of the female hormone estrogen is present in men. Overweight men have excessive amounts of estrogen, manufactured by their fat cells. This often results in “man boobs”—a condition called gynecomastia.
ERECTILE DYSFUCNTION (E.D.) is common in men on the standard American diet, especially as they age. The threadlike penile arteries are often the first to clog when atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) occurs, and E.D. is “the canary in the coal mine” indicating problems with other arteries. People in parts of the world such as the Blue Zones, who are on a plant-based whole food diet and physically active throughout life, don’t develop atherosclerosis. And many studies have shown that the same diet can reverse atherosclerosis in those who already have it. Rarely, E.D. is due to low testosterone, but don’t believe the pharmaceutical ads that want you to believe that “low-T” is usually the cause.