4 foods to avoid for prostate health

Any man who wants to have a healthy prostate should pay careful attention to his food choices.  Choose too many of not-so-healthy foods and his prostate may pay the price.  Men are notorious for loving their big beefy steaks, triple bacon cheeseburgers and fried foods which do no favors for his prostate health. 

Study after study has always directed a man to dump the bad dietary habits and instead embrace a diet rich in vitamin, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  At the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center it promotes men to practice good nutrition habits in order to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer and the risk of its progression.  Their guidelines for men are to compose their diet primarily of plant-based foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables high in fiber and to limit intake of fatty foods and foods high in sugar.  It also recommends keeping adequately hydrated with water and to keep physically active to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

If a man wants to get serious about taking care of his prostate gland to avoid various health issues associated with it, he needs to get serious about reducing his intake of certain foods.  When this happens along with getting regular exercise and losing weight if necessary, he can feel more confident in knowing he is taking care of his prostate in the best way possible.

Here are foods all men should think twice about before eating and how they can negatively affect his prostate:

·         Red meat and processed meat

Men and their love of meat go back a long ways.  But unfortunately, this love affair is not particularly kind to the prostate.  A steady diet high in red meat may be associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.  A substance called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) is partly to blame for this.   

Heterocyclic amines are chemicals formed when muscle meat including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame.  In laboratory experiments, HCAs have been found to be mutagenic – they can cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of prostate cancer and other forms of cancer.

The World Health Organization suggests that both red and processed meats may be associated with increased risk of developing prostate cancer which would include beef, pork, lunch meats, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, and salami.

For men who love meat and still want to enjoy it now and then, here are some tips on how to reduce HCA formation when cooking meat:

·         Keep portion sizes reasonable – no more than a 4 ounce portion of red meat, pork, fish,             or poultry

·         Strictly limit or avoid all processed meats

·         When grilling, avoid direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and           avoid prolonged cooking times at high temperatures.

·         Use a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures to reduce               HCA formation and cooking time.

·         Frequently turn meat over on a high heat source to reduce HCA formation

·         Always remove charred portions on meat and refrain from using gravy made from meat             drippings to also help reduce HCA exposure.

·         High-fat dairy foods

On the one hand, men need the mineral calcium from dairy foods for maintaining strong bones.  But too much of a good thing can backfire by raising the risk of developing prostate cancer.  Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking whole milk increases the risk of progression to prostate cancer mortality. Men who drank skim or low-fat milk were more positively associated with the risk of low-grade, nonaggressive and early stage prostate cancer.

The best advice here is to limit daily intake of whole milk products and to choose instead fat-free or low-fat dairy products which will be healthier for the prostate.

·         Heavy alcohol consumption

Researchers from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial analyzed data from over 10,000 men looking at the relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk.  Examined were the associations of total alcohol, type of alcoholic beverage, and drinking pattern with risks of total, low- and high-grade prostate cancer. 

What was found was large amounts of alcohol consumption may put a man at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.  Men who were heavy drinkers, which was defined as those consuming more than 3 drinks a day or more than 20 drinks a week were twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer as were moderate drinkers.  These results were consistent with findings from two meta-analyses and one review concluding that light to moderate alcohol consumption is not associated with prostate cancer risk.

When it came to different types of alcoholic beverages, only heavy beer consumption was consistently associated with prostate cancer risk. 

·         Foods rich in saturated fats

Saturated fats are well-known for raising the risk of cardiovascular disease but they may also play a role in the development of prostate cancer. 

A study published in the online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases found that men who consumed a high dietary intake of saturate fat had higher rates of more aggressive prostate cancers.  This association was also more pronounced among white Americans.  These findings suggest that limiting dietary intake of saturate fat is not only advisable for cardiovascular but may also have a role in the prevention of aggressive prostate cancer.  

Foods high in saturated fat include:

·         Red meat

·         High-fat dairy products

·         Salad dressings

·         Baked goods

·         Processed foods

To limit intake of foods high in saturated fat, replace them with food high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in the following foods:

·         Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines

·         Avocados

·         Nuts

·         Olive oil

·         Seeds