Food for thought: Prostate Cancer and Diet

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Prostate Cancer and Diet

Can dietary changes lower or increase your chances of prostate cancer? Well, when you’re being treated for cancer, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your diet. Your body is working overtime fighting cancer cells, and the effects of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are likely to wear you out. You may feel no appetite at all, but whether you have already been diagnosed or want to prevent yourself or a loved one from being diagnosed with prostate cancer, carefully planned prostate cancer diet and exercise can go a long way to reduce your risk.

Prostate Cancer Nutrition Recommendations

The two types of diets considered best for prostate cancer are the traditional Japanese diet and a Southern Mediterranean diet. A Japanese diet is low in calories and fat and typically includes green tea, soy, vegetables, and fish. Fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, red wine and fish form an important part of the Mediterranean diet.

Prostate Cancer and Food

By making careful changes to your daily diet, you can lower your risk of prostate cancer. While planning your prostate cancer diet, you need to know both foods to eat and foods to avoid.

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Prostate Cancer and Foods to Eat

Fresh fish

Alpha omega3 fatty acids are beneficial in reducing your prostate cancer risk. You can get a good dose of these from fresh fish, ideally cold water fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout. How much benefit you derive also depends on how frequently you’re having fish and how you cook your fish. In general, avoid fried fish; rather poach, bake or grill your fish. Consume at least two to three times a week.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, and leafy greens contain powerful anti-cancer nutrients. So try including a lot of these in your daily diet. Nuts, berries, and seeds are also important prostate cancer-fighting foods. Regarding fruits, those containing lycopene are considered especially good- for instance, guava, papaya, and watermelon. Also, a common fiber called pectin that is found in apples, apricots, plums and citrus fruits can reduce the number of cancerous cells by as much as 40 percent. Red grapes, red grape juice and even red wine have been seen to benefit prostate cancer. Pomegranate juice, a rich source of antioxidants, is another wonder fruit.

As far as vegetables go, fiber-rich veggies could slow down the progression of prostate cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are good cancer preventing foods. It is thought that one of the phytochemicals present in these vegetables called sulforaphane, selectively targets and kills cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells unaffected.


Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a powerful anticancer substance. Research shows that men who consumed a lot of raw and cooked tomatoes/ tomato products were less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to those who did not. However, for best results, tomatoes in the cooked and pureed forms are more effective- for instance, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato juice and ketchup.

Green tea

Consumption of green tea several times, a week has been seen to have beneficial effects for prostate cancer.

Legumes and soybeans

Legumes such as beans, peanuts and lentils contain plant compound called phytoestrogens. A certain phytoestrogens called isoflavones is thought to reduce the progression of prostate cancer. Also, research suggests that a high soy diet is beneficial for men with prostate cancer.

Check your oil

Olive oil and avocado oil are good for prostate cancer. Avoid flax seed oil and oils high in polyunsaturated fats such as corn, canola or soybean.

Prostate Cancer and diet facts: What to avoid?

  • Red meat is a complete no-no. Also avoid other meats and processed food.
  • Avoid Trans fatty acids as they increase your risk for prostate cancer. Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, commercially baked or fried foods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils contain trans fats.
  • Avoid high calcium diets.
  • Dairy products can contain the same fatty acids found in red meat. Choose low-fat dairy instead.

Finally, always consult your physician before making dietary changes as some foods may interact differently with your medicines.

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