Heart healthy foods, such as healthy fats, can help men with prostate cancer live longer. A diet rich in nuts, seeds, avocados, and unsaturated fats such as virgin olive oil helps men with both early stage and advanced prostate cancer. These heart healthy foods may slow the progression of prostate cancer as well as increase survival.
Nuts and vegetable oils have antioxidants known to protect cells and reduce inflammation. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that men who reported eating fats from vegetable sources had a lower risk of developing fatal tumors than men who ate diets that were high in animal fats and carbohydrates. Unsaturated fats are good for the heart as well as for helping the body fight prostate cancer.
The researchers examined men diagnosed with prostate tumors between 1986 and 2010 who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. During the time of the study, 1,064 men died, mainly from heart disease. Researchers found that men who ate an additional serving of oil-based dressing each day were 29% less likely to die from prostate cancer. The men who ate the oil-based dressing lowered their risk of dying from any cause by 13%. Men who ate a serving of nuts every day cut their risk of prostate cancer death by 18% and death from any cause by 11%.
While this is only one study, the data suggest that choosing heart healthy foods like vegetable fats over animal fats may give the body an edge in fighting both heart disease and prostate cancer. It is also important to note that avoiding obesity is key for both heart health and prostate health.
More heart healthy ways to fight prostate cancer
Heart disease is still the number one killer in men, even in men with prostate cancer. If you have prostate cancer, it is very important to eat well and nourish your whole body. Yet, certain treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can decrease your energy and appetite. Following the Prostate Health Diet will help you to maximize not just your prostate health but will improve your heart health and full-body health.
Here are some more heart healthy tips that also help fight prostate cancer:
- Get regular exercise, such as a walk, every day.
- Don’t smoke.
- Watch your intake of calories. Excess calories will make cancer grow.
- Reduce animal fat.
- Avoid trans fatty acids, which promote cancer growth.
- Eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout.
- Don’t eat fried foods.
- Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including leafy green vegetables.
- Eat raw cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
- Drink green tea daily.
- Use olive oils.
- Get plenty of vitamin C from citrus, spinach, sweet peppers, mango, and cantaloupe.
- Avoid salted and processed foods.
- Eat foods with selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps your immune system (e.g., Brazil nuts, fish, mushrooms, wheat germ, oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread).
- Eat foods high in lycopene such as tomatoes and watermelon.
- Eat natural sources of vitamin E like nuts, olive oil, avocado oil, wheat germ, and peas.
By following these guidelines you will be doing triple duty for your body by protecting your heart and your waistline, and by fighting prostate cancer.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Cortez MF. Prostate cancer patients may prolong lives with healthy fats. Bloomberg. 2013 Jun 10
Richman EL et al. Fat intake after diagnosis and risk of lethal prostate cancer and all-cause mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine