There are many foods that can help keep your prostate healthy such as tomatoes, broccoli, green tea, fish, or legumes and soybeans. Furthermore, as with any diet, some foods will need to be avoided and you can read our recent post to find all the ways in which you can maintain your prostate health using food and exercise.
What you need to know
If you are worried about your prostate health, there is a lot that you can do to help alleviate symptoms and avoid problems by simply changing your diet. There is strong evidence showing that good nutrition and an active lifestyle can reduce the chances of prostate cancer, enlarged prostate and more.
Just as there are foods that can help your prostate, there are those that can hurt it and this is why they need to be avoided or at the very least not eaten often. A healthy prostate diet looks very much like a healthy heart diet so you should not be surprised if you see many familiar foods on our list.
Furthermore, sport is also very important since a healthy diet alone without an active lifestyle won’t give you the best results. All this and more you can find by reading the rest of our article and learn about the foods that are recommended for prostate health, those that are not and additional tips you will have to keep in mind.
Legumes and soybeans
Legumes such as lentils, beans, and peanuts contain active plant compounds known as phytoestrogens. These biologically active compounds have cancer-fighting properties and they can suppress tumor growth in prostate cancer cells. Studies have shown a link between the consumption of soy and the reduced levels of prostate-specific antigens.
Because legumes and soybeans are tasty foods, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to add them to your diet. To make the transition easier, you may consider choosing one day each week to focus on a fully-vegetarian diet containing these foods. This way you will be able to replace the proteins from the meat with proteins from the beans.
There are lots of other choices for you such as making a black bean burger that you can serve with lots of veggies, or get some tofu which is a tasty and rich source of soy. Regardless of what you choose, the possibilities are endless and with the right cookbook, you’ll get to experience a new dish each week so that you never get bored.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is found in the cells of tomatoes and other vegetables and it may help reduce tumor growth among men with prostate cancer. This antioxidant works by decreasing cell damage and slowing cancer cell production.
The catch here is that you will need to cook the tomatoes in order to get the full benefit of the lycopene since it is tightly bound to the walls of the cell and requires a cooking process to loosen the bond.
Sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, ketchup or juice are all great choices that will help your body make the most out of this powerful antioxidant. You can incorporate more cooked tomatoes in your diet by focusing on Italian-style foods that use a tomato base such as pasta, spaghetti Bolognese or a Caprese salad.
During the summer months, you can switch to drinking plain tomato juice each morning, with the mention that you will need to pick the variety that has low-sodium.
A list of healthy foods would not be complete without broccoli, this vegetable so hated by children but so appreciated by adults thanks to its many complex compounds that can help protect the body against cancer.
Broccoli contains the phytochemical sulforaphane which is believed to target and kill cancer cells while leaving the healthy prostate cells untouched and ready to fight another day. There are many studies that suggest that eating broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables can lower the risk of getting prostate cancer.
If you are not a big fan of broccoli you can still get the same benefits from vegetables in the same family including bok choy, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. You can add all of these vegetables in soups, salads, or you can eat them with some dip.
Fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout provide large amounts of “good fats” that can help prevent inflammation in the body. The omega-3 fatty acids are exclusively found in this diet and they are not synthesized by the body.
It is important for your diet to include foods that are rich in omega-3 in particular since omega-6 fatty acids can be found in traditional western foods. A balance of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent the development and progression of prostate cancer.
Adding omega-3s to your diet is very easy since you can simply crack open a can of tuna or sardines. If you are not a big fan of these types of fish you can try different sortiments since each fish has a unique flavor. Furthermore, it is important to buy your fish fresh since their flavor will be milder, making it more likely for a picky eater to enjoy.
If you still don’t want to add fish to your diet, there is another alternative called ALA (“alpha-linolenic acid”) which is a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids. You can find ALA in olive oil, nuts, seeds, and other vegetable oils. You will need to make sure you don’t include large quantities of vegetable oils in your diet as too much of them can hurt your health.
Similarly to tomatoes, green tea is a great source of antioxidants as well. Each leaf of this versatile plant contains multiple antioxidant compounds which are believed to be anti-mutagenic (meaning that it can prevent healthy cells from mutating) and anti-carcinogenic. Studies show that men who drank green tea had a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Adding green tea to your diet is also not very difficult nor expensive, and you can start by drinking one cup each morning in place of your coffee. Green tea contains caffeine too, and if you are not a big fan of it, or if you want to cut down on the amount of caffeine you consume you can try a decaffeinated version.
During the summer, you can try cooling it in your fridge or adding some ice to it and enjoy a healthy and refreshing beverage.
Foods to avoid
As with any diet, you won’t only need to eat good foods but also try and avoid the other types of food that will not do you good. If you have prostate problems or wish to keep it in good health, you will need to avoid dairy products since they have been linked to an increased risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Researchers have also suggested that removing red meat from your diet can help improve the health of your prostate. In fact, daily meat consumption is believed to increase the risk of prostate enlargement up to three times.
Caffeine should also be avoided since this substance can act as a diuretic, meaning that it can increase how often, how much, and how urgently one has to urinate. You will not only need to back off on coffee but also tea, chocolate, and soda.
Just as caffeine, alcohol must be avoided too since it can stimulate urine production. Lastly, men should try a low-sodium diet which involves adding less salt (preferably none at all) to your meals and avoiding processed foods.
A healthy diet works best when it is combined with an active lifestyle, which is why regular exercises should be part of your weekly routine. Exercise can help you reach and maintain your ideal body weight which in turn will help boost your prostate health.
Staying fit can help with lower urinary tract symptoms that are linked to an enlarged prostate and lower the risk of prostate cancer. Doctors recommend a routine that includes a mix of cardio, circuit training, stretching, and weight training.
Apart from your exercise routine, more physical movement, in general, can also boost your health since researchers have found that men who are physically active are less likely to have prostate problems than those who are physically inactive.