French fries cooking in commercial fryer

Eating deep fried foods boosts your risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Researchers analyzed survey data from more than 3,000 men ages 35 to 74, and discovered that guys who reported eating French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, and/or fried doughnuts once or more a week had a 30- to 37-percent higher risk of prostate cancer. The risk remained the same even after the researchers considered factors like age, race, family history, body-mass index, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.

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By comparison, men who had the lowest prostate cancer risk only ate fried foods less than once a month, while men with a more moderate risk ate fried foods one to three times a month.

What gives? Lead researcher Janet Stanford, Ph.D., codirector of the Hutchinson Center's Program in Prostate Cancer Research, says that when oil is heated to high temperatures, it can create carcinogenic compounds in food. "High-temperature deep frying can really change the constitution of the food, so it produces chemicals that can be damaging to DNA," Stanford says.

(What foods should you avoid? Start with these 25 New "Healthy" Foods That Aren't.)

Your move: Keep the KFC visits to a once-in-a-blue-moon minimum. For a better, prostate-protecting alternative, go nuts. Nuts contain zinc compounds that reduce inflammation--a pathway to cancer--and oxidative stress, says James Hebert, Sc.D., a professor at the Arnold School of Public Health. "The prostate is a zinc sponge," he says. Harvard researchers also found that men with the highest levels of selenium had a 48 percent lower incidence of advanced prostate cancer than those with the lowest intakes. So eat three Brazil nuts every day, which will provide you with 200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, the exact amount you need to keep your prostate-cancer risk at rock-bottom levels.

And load up on black tea. Stanford examined 19 percent of the general population of men in Washington and found that guys who sipped one cup of the beverage every day reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 37 percent. The potential reason? Polyphenols found in tea function as cancer-fighting antioxidants, researchers say.

(For more smart power food suggestions, stock up on these 125 Best Foods for Men.)

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