Is there a prostate cancer diet? What are your risks for prostate cancer?
If you’re a man – or a woman who loves a man – you’ve probably realized prostate health should be a major focus of overall health.
There’s a good reason for that.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, coming in behind skin cancer.
And it’s the second deadliest cancer in men, as well.
In fact, 1 in every 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. Sadly, 1 in every 38 of those men will die from it.
However, that doesn’t mean that prostate cancer is inherently a death sentence. More than 2.9 million men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still around, living life to its fullest.
And perhaps the easiest way to prevent prostate cancer, and increase your odds of beating it, is through diet. Simple, healthy, and delicious changes to your diet can help you help your prostate!
General Prostate Cancer Diet Guidelines
While there is no official diet for prostate cancer, enough is known about foods that help keep your prostate healthy that there’s no excuse not to follow these basic guidelines.
And the truth is that a diet for prostate cancer looks and tastes a lot like a heart-healthy diet. So if you’re already working on heart health, you’re already working on a prostate diet, too!
In general, following these four guidelines will go a long way toward turning your ordinary diet into a prostate cancer diet:
1. Limit your fat intake. Some studies indicated that men who ate more fat had higher incidences of prostate cancer. While it’s unclear if the two are directly related, it’s a good idea to keep your fat intake moderate, just in case and for overall good health.
2. When you do eat fats, get more of them from plant sources than from animal sources. In other words, swap out high fat meat and dairy for more nuts, avocado, and olives. Use olive oil instead of butter in cooking. And instead of buttery croutons, add seeds and nuts to your salad for that nice crunch.
3. Get plenty of fish. The omega-3s found in fatty fish – salmon, herring, and tuna, especially – have been linked to lower rates of prostate cancer. Make them a regular part of your diet and boost prostate health!
4. Load up on vegetables and fruit. First, the antioxidants in fresh fruits and veggies will help protect against prostate cancer. But also, when you fill up on vegetables, you simply don’t have room for other, less healthy foods.
Time to Get Specific
As good as general guidelines can be, sometimes you want specifics, and putting together a diet is definitely one of those times.
After all, if there are certain foods you should be eating for prostate health, you want to know that. It’s the whole point, right?
So, let’s cut to the chase. When creating a diet for prostate cancer, be sure to get plenty of these:
Broccoli. No one is 100% sure yet why cruciferous vegetables protect against prostate cancer, but researchers are sure they do. One theory is that they contain phytochemicals that attack cancer cells but leave the healthy prostate cells alone. Whatever the reason, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies need to play an important role in your cancer diet.
Coffee. In at least one study, men who drank at least six cups of coffee a day were 60% less likely to develop prostate cancer. So brew a pot and protect your prostate. The best news? Decaf seems to have the same effect, so you don’t even have to worry about getting the jitters.
Fish. We mentioned fish before, thanks to its high levels of omega-3s. Not a fan of salmon, though? Don’t worry. Other healthy options include mackerel, sardines, and trout.
Green tea. In between cups of coffee, try to get at least five cups of green tea per day. Research shows green tea is excellent for protecting against many kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Leafy greens. There’s a reason leafy greens are on every healthy diet list – from the MIND diet for your brain to a prostate cancer diet, leafy greens are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. All vegetables are good, but the power of leafy greens is truly impressive.
Legumes. Ah, the humble bean. This common food is packed with protein and fiber, making it an excellent substitute for red meat. But even more importantly, beans, peanuts, and lentils are believed to contain certain compounds that may prevent and reduce tumor growth in prostate cancer patients.
Pomegranate juice. You’ve probably heard that pomegranate is a superfood, and that’s doubly true when it comes to prostate health. First, it helps prevent cancer, thanks to its powerful antioxidants. Then, it also targets prostate cancer cells that have already formed, while leaving the healthy prostate cells alone.
Soy. Although soy is another substitute for meat, it also belongs in this cancer diet in its own right. There are indications that soy may lower one of the primary markers for prostate cancer! Plus, it works even better when used in conjunction with other prostate cancer fighting foods.
Tomatoes. If this list wasn’t in alphabetical order, tomatoes would be number one. Because tomatoes and tomato products are one of the most important prostate cancer fighting foods you can eat. The lycopene in tomatoes has been shown in study after study to be a key weapon in the battle against prostate cancer. Not only does lycopene reduce the size of cancer cells, it reduces your chance of ever developing prostate cancer in the first place.
It’s Not Just About What You SHOULD Eat
Now you’ve got some general guidelines, as well as very specific suggestions. But a well-rounded diet for prostate cancer needs to avoid some foods as well.
To optimize your prostate health, it’s time to avoid these foods:
High calcium diets. While getting enough calcium in your diet is important, be careful not to get too much. Diets high in calcium have been linked to prostate cancer.
Preserved, pickled, or processed foods. Work fish into your diet, yes – just avoid the pickled herring. Any highly salted, highly processed foods are bad for you on just about every level. So limit them or eliminate them for prostate health and overall health.
Simple carbohydrates. This can mean sugary foods, but it also means foods that your body treats like sugary foods, such as white bread or pasta. Swap out for whole wheat options and use fresh fruit to tame your sweet tooth. Why? Because men who ate more simple carbohydrates in their diet were 64% more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who didn’t.
Corn Oil. The omega-6 fatty acids in corn oil can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to the growth of prostate cancer cells. Swap out corn oil for olive oil.
You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer with diet – and hardly taste the difference. Healthy food doesn’t have to mean bland or tasteless.
Not when you can use these foods to create your own, personalized and delicious prostate cancer diet.