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If you are looking for ways to prevent prostate cancer and maximize your ongoing prostate health, there are many lifestyle modifications you can make. The following 19 ways to prevent prostate cancer are based on more than 200 studies over 15 years and are part of the foundations of The Prostate Diet and the 6 Pillars of Prostate Health.
- Maximize fruit and vegetable servings: Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of cancer- and inflammation-fighting substances such as antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Strong evidence points to the ability of these foods—which are rich in potent phytonutrients—to reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
- Focus on proper nutrition. Cancer experts estimate that our food choices account for up to 90 percent of cancers of the prostate, breast, pancreas, and colon. Making changes to your diet can significantly lower your risk of getting prostate disease.
- Eat healthy fats: Research shows that people who live in countries where high-fat diets are the norm (like the United States) are more likely to develop prostate cancer than people who live in countries where diets are lower in fat.
- Choose plant protein over animal protein: Plant protein gives you all the nutrients and health benefits needed for maximum prostate health. Diets rich in plant protein have been shown to reduce rates of cancer and prostate disease. Also, according to the World Health Organization “diets high in red meat, dairy products, and animal fat have frequently been implicated in the development of prostate cancer.”
- Eat whole and natural foods: Consuming foods high in fiber has been linked to lower levels of testosterone (Wang 2005) and lower PSA scores (Tariq 2000), both good indicators for prostate health.
- Consume green tea: Green tea contains substances called catechins that travel throughout the body and take up residence in the prostate, where they can slow the growth of cancer cells, encourage cancer cell “suicide” (apoptosis), and interfere with the actions of enzymes that encourage the growth and spread of cancer. Studies show that men who drink green tea can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by as much as 70 percent when compared with men who don’t drink green tea. (Jian 2004)
- Eat omega-3 rich foods: Found in certain fish, Omega 3 fats fight inflammation, a process that eats up the body’s natural antioxidants and weakens the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to disease. Omega 3 has also been shown to significantly decrease prostate cancer risk.
- Avoid foods and additives that are harmful to prostate health: Some foods, supplements, additives and nutrients are especially harmful to the prostate, including but not limited to red meat, calcium, chondroitin, and foods high in sugar.
- Take supplements selectively: Many supplements can be beneficial to the prostate but some have the potential to be harmful (such as calcium). You need to be aware of all the facts (good and bad) so you can make an informed choice about what supplements you take.
- Consume cancer-killing foods: Numerous foods and their components in The Prostate Health Diet have been shown to be cancer killers. Elevated levels of folate (folic acid) and vitamin D are associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. Other foods such as turmeric/curcumin and cayenne have been shown to have cancer killing properties as has lycopene, found mainly in tomato-based products.
- Hydrate often: Drinking pure water is essential for prostate health.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Numerous studies have shown a link between being overweight and having a high risk of prostate cancer as well as lower long-term survival rates and more aggressive forms of the disease.
- Exercise regularly. Studies with animals and large human populations suggest that exercise can help slow the spread of prostate cancer (Esser 2009). Exercise also has a preventative effect on prostatitis and BPH as well as inflammation.
- Manage stress. Many health experts believe that stress plays a role in cancer: it may not directly cause it, but long-term stress can be very detrimental to the body, weakening the immune system, altering your hormonal balance, and overall making you more susceptible to disease.
- Experiment with natural therapies. Natural prevention and treatment approaches for prostate health include acupuncture, biofeedback, homeopathy, hormone restoration, massage, reflexology and stress management techniques.
- Lead a prostate friendly lifestyle. Smoking, sleep patterns, some medications and alcohol all affect your prostate.
- Maintain hormone balance. Hormone management and hormone balancing play a major role in prostate health. According to the World Health Organization “diet might influence prostate cancer risk by affecting hormone levels.”
- Maintain a healthy sex life. Sex seems to be healthy for your prostate but can you have too much of a good thing?
- Avoid exposure to toxins. Stay away from chemicals and other substances that can increase the risk of developing cancer. It’s been estimated that 90 percent of people in the United States have detectable levels of BPA toxin in their bodies. BPA has been associated with various health problems, including an increased risk of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Esser KA et al. Physical activity reduces prostate carcinogenesis in a transgenic model. Prostate 2009 Sep 15; 69(3): 1372-77
Jian L et al. Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: a case-control study in southeast China. International Journal of Cancer 2004 Jan 1; 108(1): 130-35
Tariq N et al. Effect of soluble and insoluble fiber diets on serum prostate specific antigen in men. Journal of Urology 2000 Jan; 163(1): 114-18
Wang C et al. Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2005 Jun; 90(6): 3550-59
World Health Organization. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and processed meat. 2015 October