Food Plate iconLast week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture replaced its traditional food pyramid with a new "plate icon" to help direct consumers on how to eat a healthy, balanced meal.  It turns out that an emphasis on fruits and vegetables can also be helpful in preventing cancer.

In one segment of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center series, C-Answers, we review some of the evidence on foods that thwart cancer.  Watch the video and read the script to improve your knowledge of a healthy diet and reduce your risk for cancer:

C-Answers: Diet, Nutrition and Cancer
Most of our moms weren't prostate cancer specialists, but it turns out they sure knew what they were talking about when they told us to "eat our vegetables."

That was "then" and this is NOW... and NOW science is backing up mom's advice.

I'm Bill Nelson, the director of the Kimmel Cancer Center here at Johns Hopkins. I'm an oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer.

Research has shown us that fruits and vegetables have nutrients that help decrease cancer risk.

Tomatoes are a perfect example. In tomatoes we find lycopene. It's what gives tomatoes their rich, red color. Men who have high levels of lycopene show low levels of prostate cancer.

In a study of prostate cancer patients who ate foods with tomato based sauces over a three-week span before surgery to remove their prostate gland, the disease had become less severe.

If tomatoes aren't on your favorite food list, leafy, green vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage have also been linked in lowering prostate cancer risk.

On the flip side... how and what you eat could increase your chances of prostate cancer...

And remember, most of us consume a pound and a half to two pounds of food each day -- that introduces a very complicated mixture of chemicals... and that's before you cook it.

Studies have shown that eating a lot of red meat raises the odds of prostate cancer.

AND the WAY you cook it is important too.

Grilling at high temperatures or charcoal broiling burns the meat.  It's those charred bits that contain a carcinogen called PhIP... spelled P-H-I-P.

Scientists are now studying ways to measure levels of PhIP in the body, so that doctors can better predict your prostate cancer risk.

That old saying, "You are what you eat" is turning out to be a key ingredient to controlling cancer.

"Mom" had it right, all along!!

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