What you eat can significantly affect your chances of developing prostate cancer. Learn what prostate-friendly foods you can add to your diet, and what you need to stay away from.
It is estimated that one in six men in the United States will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime—making it the second most common cancer among men (after skin cancer). It is also the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. This type of cancer affects the prostate, which is a male gland about the size of a walnut, located just below the bladder. This gland plays the role of carrying urine and semen to the penis. Almost all cases of prostate cancer are adenocarcinomas, which are cancers that begin in cells in the body that make and release mucus as well as other fluids. Unfortunately, this cancer often has no symptoms in the initial stages, making it difficult to diagnose. Prostate cancer is a slow-progressing disease, and most of the men who are diagnosed with it are older than 65 years.
There is no specific cause of prostate cancer determined yet, but there are certain risk factors that may make you more likely to develop this disease. These risk factors include age (men over 50 years are at an increased risk), race and ethnicity (African-American men are more likely to develop it), and genetic factors. Another important factor that can affect your likelihood of getting prostate cancer is your diet. The kind of foods that you eat and the lifestyle you lead can have a direct bearing on your prostate health, thereby affecting your chances of developing the disease. Not only can watching what you eat help you keep your prostate cancer from progressing, but it can even influence your chances of getting the cancer in the first place. Here are some dietary modifications that you can consider making in order to fight prostate cancer.
Foods That You Should Include in Your Diet to Fight Prostate Cancer
- Tomato: Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent prostate cancer, and reduce the growth of tumors in men who already have the disease. There have been studies which found that men who consumed more tomatoes and tomato-based products have lesser chances of developing prostate cancer as compared to those who do not eat tomatoes regularly. It was also found that cooked and processed tomatoes (like tomato soups, purees, sauces, etc.) are better sources of lycopene than raw tomatoes. This is because the antioxidant is tightly bound to the cell walls, and it is easier for your body to absorb lycopene from cooked or processed tomato products. While choosing your tomato products, try to opt for ones that have low salt and sugar content.
- Fish: Fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and trout that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, and can help reduce the growth of tumors in the prostate. The typical Western diet features plenty of omega-6 fatty acids but not many omega-3s. Maintaining a healthy balance of both these fatty acids can help prevent the development and growth of prostate cancer. In a study done recently, it was found that men who ate such oily fish more than once a week decreased their risk of getting aggressive prostate cancer by as much as 57 percent. So try to incorporate these cold water fatty fish in your regular diet at least a few times a week to keep prostate cancer at bay.
- Broccoli: Known for its various health benefits, broccoli is among the cruciferous vegetables that can reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, studies suggest that there is a link between your prostate cancer risk and the amount of cruciferous vegetables that you eat. Although the exact reasons are still not clear, researchers consider that sulforaphane, a phytochemical found in vegetables like broccoli, kills cancer cells by selectively targeting them while leaving your healthy prostate cells unaffected.
- Legumes and soybeans: Legumes like beans, lentils, and peanuts may help contain the growth of tumors in prostate cancer cells as these foods contain phytoestrogens, which are biologically-active plant compounds. These compounds are considered to exhibit cancer-fighting properties. In addition, consuming soy and soy products may also help battle prostate cancer as some preliminary research has shown a link between the consumption of soy and a decrease in the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein that is produced by your prostate, and the level of PSA in your blood is used as a measure during screening tests for prostate cancer.