Foods helping and foods harming prostate health


Foods helping and foods harming prostate health

A top health priority for all men should be the health of their prostate.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer of American men with one in 6 men who will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives. 

One way to gain power over reducing prostate cancer risk is through dietary choices.  Granted, there is no absolute guarantee that following a healthy diet will prevent prostate cancer.  But the odds are in a man’s favor if he at the very least, avoids certain foods that have been shown to possibly negatively affecting the health of this gland while including more health-enhancing foods for his prostate.

4 foods hindering prostate health

There are 4 types of foods that have been suggested showing a possible link to overconsumption of them to prostate cancer.   These foods are as follows:

1.  High-fat red meat and processed meat

The World Health Organization has suggested that both red meat and processed meats may be associated with increased risk of developing prostate cancer.  Examples include high fat beef, pork, lunch meat, hot dogs, and sausage.  A diet rich in meat, particularly if it’s cooked well-done, may be associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.  Part of the reason could be due to a substance formed when meat is grilled called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) These are carcinogens found in cooked meat, that have been linked to several cancers

Try instead:

·      Skinless chicken breast

·      Lean red meat

·      Fresh or canned fish such as tuna, salmon, or sardines

·      Beans and legumes such as lentils, split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans

·      Nut and nut butters

·      Replace the meat in your favorite chili or stew with beans

·      Grill up fish fillets instead of steaks

2.  Alcohol

Over imbibing in alcohol can increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer according to reseachers reviewing data of over 10,000 men who participated in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. This study uncovered that heavy alcohol drinkers were twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer as moderate drinkers.  The definition for heavy drinkers is men who consume more than three drinks a day or more than 20 drinks a week.  Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than two drinks per day.  A drink is defined as a 12 ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.  

Try instead: 

·      Water or sparkling water mixed with fresh fruit juice

·      Non-alcoholic beers or wine

·      Sparkling juice

·      Tea or coffee

3.  Saturated and Trans fats

Often linked to heart disease, saturated and trans fats also have an association with prostate cancer.  Not all studies have found a link but other studies have shown these unhealthy fats to possibly increase the risk of prostate cancer.  Even if they do not increase the risk, reducing intake of saturated and trans fats may benefit your prostate and overall health.  Avoid foods that include these which are red meat, high-fat dairy products, baked goods, processed foods, butter, bacon, sausage, and heavy cream.

Try instead:

·      Fish with omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, or trout

·      Avocados

·      Nuts

·      Olive oil

·      Seeds 

4.  Sugary foods and beverages and refined carbohydrates 

Cancer cells can fuel themselves with sugar so it is to a man’s advantage to reduce his intake of foods containing too much of the sweet stuff.  This would include all sugary beverages such as soda or sweetened tea, along with cookies, pie, cake and other sugary concoctions.  Refined carbohydrates would be white rice or items made with white flour.  These type of foods are devoid of fiber and important vitamins and minerals than could be helpful reducing prostate cancer risk. If a man’s diet lacks color because of too many sugary/refined foods, his prostate health could suffer. 

Try instead: 

·      Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables

·      Make half your plate filled with fruits/veggies

·      Use whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread or brown rice

4 foods enhancing prostate health

Even though there is no definitive evidence good nutrition can prevent prostate problems, eating a healthy balanced diet may reduce a man’s risk.  The best bet is to build meals and snacks around vegetables and fruits as a start which always enhances health in general and especially a healthy prostate. 

Here are 4 foods that can do just that:

1.  Berries

All berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries), are high in vitamin C and antioxidants which play an important role in the body.   Include some type of berry every day to help prevent damage from free radicals, molecules that attack healthy cells which can contribute to cancer. 

2.  Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, mackerel, and sardines, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A review paper found that omega-3 fats modulate prostate cancer development, likely because of their anti-inflammatory effects, and ultimately may inhibit tumor growth.  Aim for two servings (one serving is 3.5 ounces) of omega-3 rich fish a week.

3.  Nuts

Nuts are one of the best go-to snacks around.  They contain healthy fats to help lower cholesterol and promote brain health.  Brazil nuts in particular, are rich in the mineral selenium.  A 2010 study suggests that selenium along with soy may help fight prostate cancer.  One Brazil nut contains 100 percent of the daily value of selenium – be careful on the portion size as too much selenium can be harmful.  Other nuts to consider include pecans, almonds, and walnuts. 

4.  Beans

Here’s a good nutritional swap boosting prostate health – replace red or processed meats with plant protein.  Beans are chock-full of protein and other vital nutrients benefitting prostate health.  One cup of beans has about 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber – men consuming more fiber may benefit from a carbohydrate found in high-fiber diets called IP6 which might control the progression of prostate cancer.  Ideally men should aim for about 38 grams of fiber a day.