NEW YORK, April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The tomato has long been heralded for its lycopene antioxidant properties and now its close partner, oregano, is taking some credit in the fight against prostate cancer. New research shows the promising ability of oregano to destroy prostate cancer cells.
"Americans are very in tune with how diet affects health," says Dr. David Samadi, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, "The potential for the properties of oregano to somehow translate into a safe and effective prostate cancer treatment one day is very interesting."
Certainly it's exciting to learn that the foods we enjoy are good for more than just our taste buds. Researchers found that carvacrol, a chemical found in oregano, was able to kill prostate cancer cell when introduced in a lab setting. "Interestingly, carvacrol actually causes the prostate cancer cells to destroy themselves," explains Dr. Samadi, "and what's more exciting about this research is that the destruction happened quite quickly, in only a matter of days."
Previous studies have highlighted the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of oregano. This new cancer-fighter status may quickly elevate oregano to what researchers are calling a super-spice.
Lycopene, the red pigment found in foods like tomatoes, has proven to both reduce the risk of prostate cancer and slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Some studies found as much as an 80 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk with increased lycopene consumption.
Believed to be among the other prostate cancer fighting foods are broccoli and cabbage, watermelon, fish, and green tea. Dr. Samadi encourages a broader approach to wellness, "The truth is that the best defense against prostate cancer is a healthy, diverse diet coupled with an active lifestyle and regular exercise. Annual PSA tests and an awareness about your family history and risk factors are critical."
While there is still a great deal to be learned about how certain foods or spices help us fight disease, researchers continue to make promising connections. Dr. Samadi adds, "I am always intrigued and encouraged by how nature might shape the future of medicine. The idea that medical success and cancer breakthroughs may one day come from the combination of advanced technology like robotic surgery and more natural means such as cancer-fighting foods is an amazing prospect."
In the meantime, what man doesn't want to hear that he should eat more pizza and pasta? It's a win-win.
Dr. David Samadi is founder of the innovative SMART surgery technique (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) for the minimally invasive surgical removal of prostate cancer.