Prostate cancer is a pressing issue for American men.
Thoughts of the disease can fester in the minds of older men across the country, often turning into a long and fearful waiting game.
I just read an article in The New York Times that addressed how men are over-tested for prostate cancer. Recent research leans toward the idea that the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test is inaccurate and ends up causing more harm than good.
But if you want to prevent prostate cancer, or even know if you have it, what are you supposed to do?
What You Eat Plays a Big Role in Your Risk for Prostate Cancer
I know you’ve heard this before—about everything from preventing diabetes to improving heart health and back again—but what you eat might play a big role in your risk for prostate cancer.
The Standard American Diet—high in processed foods, refined carbs, meat and unhealthy fats, and low in fruits, vegetables and fiber—may increase the likelihood of prostate cancer and make it more aggressive.
Research indicates that a plant-based diet—one that uses meat sparingly and emphasizes fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains—can make some significant improvements to the prevalence and development of prostate cancer (1).
Some foods may even be better than others, but the key is to eat a colorful, balanced selection of nutrient-dense plant-based selections. Total meat avoidance isn’t necessary, but cutting back is essential if it makes up a big part of your diet.
Foods that may provide a little extra prostate protection include:
Research indicates that men who eat more tomatoes or tomato-based products are less likely to develop prostate cancer. This likely has to do with the presence of a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which may prevent cancer and reduce tumor growth in the area. Lycopene may be more active in cooked tomatoes, so the best way to eat them could be to add them to sauces, or to use a tomato paste or a puree.
Cruciferous vegetables have a number of compounds that may work to prevent and battle prostate cancer. There is evidence suggesting that broccoli can selectively target and attack cancerous cells, though why this happens is still under investigation.
Beans, peanuts, lentils, and other legumes may offer some prostate-cancer help, too. Rich in phytoestrogens, legumes might help limit tumor growth in prostate cells.
High in omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of vitamins and minerals, fatty fish can help create a better fat-balance that could prevent prostate cancer from developing or progressing.
Choosing fruits, veggies, and whole grains at snack and meal times can help put your body in the best position to prevent and combat cancerous growths in the prostate. You don’t have to live in fear.