Skipping the steaks, chops and ribs at the dinner table could help Kiwi men take down prostate cancer, a University of Auckland study has found.
Researchers at the university's Cancer Society Research Centre have found a "Mediterranean-style diet" may benefit men with prostate cancer - the most diagnosed cancer in New Zealand men.
The study found that men with prostate cancer responded favourably to a change in diet that included more "olive oil, fruit and vegetables, legumes (pulses), whole-grains and poultry with some fish and seafood".
Foods to be avoided among the small-scale pilot group of 20 men included red meat, processed meat, and dairy.
Karen Bishop monitored the group - men mainly from the Auckland region who had diagnosed prostate cancer - as they stuck to a Mediterranean-style diet for three months.
As well as the change in eating habits, the men were also encouraged to consume broccoli, pomegranate juice, salmon and green tea. These are known to reduce inflammation.
"We showed that dietary change to a Mediterranean-style diet is both achievable and beneficial for men with prostate cancer in New Zealand, albeit in a small and motivated group," Dr Bishop said.
"This is the first time such a study has been carried out in men with prostate cancer in New Zealand. This result adds weight to the notion that a low-inflammatory, high antioxidant diet may benefit men with prostate cancer."
Nutritionist Sharon Erdrich, who worked alongside Bishop, said there was also a reduction in DNA damage among the men who "adhered closely to the Mediterranean-style diet and increased their consumption of pulses and green tea".
"This diet is most effective where men seek to improve their health outcomes and are willing to take on board new ways of eating. It's not so much a prescriptive diet, but more a new way of eating.