Did you know that you can make choices that impact your prostate health every time you sit down to eat? Research shows that good nutrition (along with regular exercise) can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and slow its progression. Increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants in your diet can keep your prostate healthy.
Here are five foods to eat for a healthy prostate:
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. They include vegetables like cabbage, bok choy, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Broccoli is great for prostate health. It contains glucoraphanin, a phytochemical that can convert substances to target and even prevent cancer cell growth.
Research indicates that cruciferous vegetables can lower inflammation. This is related to prostate cancer risk.
The incremental damage that builds up over many years is called oxidative stress. It’s caused by free radicals. They’re the toxic byproducts of metabolism. When uncontrolled, free radicals cause oxidative damage to cells and DNA, among other things. Damaged DNA can’t replicate properly. This can potentially lead to cancerous changes in cells. Thankfully, antioxidants neutralize and remove free radicals from the body.
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all great sources of antioxidants. These fruits contain anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants.
Some fish provide “good fats.” These good fats don’t cause inflammation in the same way that saturated animal fats do. They are found especially in cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, and trout.
Scientists see inflammation within the prostate as a dangerous precursor to cancer. Inflammation can make it easier for cancer to take hold.
In fighting inflammation, not all fish is equal. One study from Harvard explored the relationship between diet and inflammation. The study found that canned tuna, shrimp, lobster, and scallops were more inflammatory than “dark meat” fish like salmon or red snapper.
If you don’t like fish, you can try other plant-based proteins. A study that followed men with localized prostate cancer over 24 years found that those who replaced animal fat in their diet with vegetable fat had a lower risk of dying from their cancer.
4. Cooked Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a well-known food for prostate health. They contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that’s found in the cell walls of tomatoes. During cooking, the bond between the tomato cells is loosened, which makes it easier for our bodies to access the antioxidant.
When men eat diets high in lycopene, the lycopene levels in the prostate increase. Adding tomato sauce, paste, and juice to your diet will increase lycopene levels. A bonus tip is to cook tomatoes in olive oil, which helps the body absorb lycopene.
5. Tea and Coffee
It’s common knowledge that green tea is a great source of antioxidants. The antioxidants contained in green tea include catechins. They are believed to be anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic. Anti-mutagenic means that they prevent healthy cells from mutating. Research has shown that men who drink seven cups of green tea a day have a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Coffee may be a surprise on this list. There are many studies that suggest regularly drinking coffee can help prevent prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Eating a diet full of prostate-healthy foods is important. Regular prostate cancer screening is equally important. We recommend prostate cancer screening begins in your forties. After that, your urologist will determine the frequency of additional screening based on your results and risk factors. If you are ready for your first prostate cancer screening or due for your next prostate cancer screening, schedule an appointment today.