Preventing Prostate Cancer
Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul Song M.D
Johns Hopkins Medical now believes that up to 90% of prostate cancers are diet related. Given that 1 in 6 men will develop the disease, taking the necessary steps in reducing risk and preventing prostate cancer should be a priority for all men.
You can’t control certain high risk factors such as age, ethnicity, family history, and genetics. However, there are numerous other factors over which you do have control, and they can form part of a program to help in preventing prostate cancer and optimizing your recovery and long-term wellness if you should be diagnosed with the disease.Advertisement
What Can You Do to Help in Preventing Prostate Cancer?
Prevention of prostate cancer means making lifestyle changes to lower your risk of the disease. Even though there is no one thing you can do to prevent prostate cancer, experts have identified a number of risk factors that you can address immediately.
- Maximize fruit and vegetable intake. 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.
- 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. Eating healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and oils such as canola and olive oil can help you in the prevention of prostate cancer.
- 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 and lower PSA scores, both good indicators for prostate health. At the same time, avoid refined and processed foods, which tend to be full of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners as well as preservatives, all of which are detrimental to health.
- Drink lots of 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.
- Eat omega-3 rich foods. Found in many cold water fish (e.g., salmon, herring, tuna), 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. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and shellfish include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while some plant foods (e.g., walnuts, flaxseed, wheat germ) contain another omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid, which must be converted to EPA and DHA in the body.
- Avoid foods that are harmful to prostate health. Some foods, supplements, additives and nutrients are especially harmful to the prostate, including artificial sweeteners, calcium and dairy foods, canned tomatoes, chondroitin, farmed salmon, French fries and potato chips, nonorganic eats, nonorganic potatoes, red and processed meats, and foods high in sugar.
- Take scientifically supported supplements. Many prostate supplements can be beneficial in cases of prostate cancer in supporting and boosting the immune system pre and post cancer treatment. Other supplements have been shown in clinical trials to cause apoptosis (self destruction) in cancer cells and lower the risk of prostate cancer. Among the supplements that can help with prostate cancer include broccoli sprout extract, cayenne, gac fruit, green tea, indole-3-carbinol/DIM, magnolia tree bark, muscadine grape skin, modified citrus pectin, muscadine grape skin, pomegranate, quercetin, resveratrol, turmeric, vitamin D, and zinc.
- Consume cancer-fighting foods. Numerous foods and their components in The Prostate Diet have been shown to be cancer fighters in clinical trials. 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 (capsaicin) have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties as has lycopene, found mainly in tomato-based products. Consumption of apple peels, carrots, coffee, cranberries, cruciferous vegetables, fenugreek seeds, flax seeds, foods containing phytates (e.g., beans, whole grains, seeds), garlic, licorice, mushrooms, orange bell peppers, and rye also have been associated with cancer-fighting properties.
- 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. If you are facing a weight-loss challenge, talk to a health professional who can help you drop those excess pounds.
- Exercise regularly. Studies with animals and large human populations strongly suggest that exercise can help slow the spread of prostate cancer and reduce the risk of getting the disease. Exercise also has a preventive effect on prostatitis and BPH as well as inflammation.
- Manage stress. Many health experts believe that stress plays a role in cancer. Stress may not cause it directly, but long-term stress can be very detrimental to the body by 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 (naturally), massage, reflexology, and stress management techniques.
- Lead a prostate friendly lifestyle. Smoking, sleep patterns, and some medications all affect your prostate. In addition, excessive alcohol use has been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer
- 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. Sexual activity seems to be healthy for your prostate, but can you have too much of a good thing? Most likely a healthy sex life is an important part of a healthy prostate but the reports are conflicting.
- 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. Other common sources of toxin exposure include most personal health products (e.g., shampoo, soaps, anything with a fragrance), pesticides for garden and yard, food additives and preservatives, and dry cleaning chemicals, to name a few.