Prostate cancer is a common diagnosis among men. Risk factors for developing the disease include family history, ethnicity, and age; about 62 percent of all cases occur in men older than 65, and African-American men are more likely than other men to develop the disease.
New research is investigating the positive impact of specific foods on reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer. These studies suggest that men who eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans could have a lower risk of prostate cancer. On the other hand, some foods may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Here is a quick overview of some existing recommendations:
- Tomatoes – Good
Tomatoes are the best source of a carotenoid called lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating tomatoes that have been cooked, because lycopene is absorbed better when it has been processed.
- Pomegranate – Good
Pomegranates are high in a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which might slow the growth of some tumors. Pomegranates also have been found to reduce prostate- specific antigens in patients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Vitamin D – Good
Vitamin D has been linked with a decrease risk of several cancers, including prostate cancer. Food sources of Vitamin D include salmon, mackerel and tuna, and fortified dairy foods. Vitamin D can also be absorbed through a supplement.
- High Fat Intake – Bad
A diet high in fat over a long time will increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer. Fats from animal sources tend to have the highest influence on prostate cancer risk. Eating lean meats such as poultry and fish more often can help reduce your risk.
- Calcium/Dairy – Depends
The National Cancer Institute states that diets high in dairy and calcium might slightly increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who consume the recommended 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy foods a day seem to be safe, because calcium in these foods has many other health benefits.
In addition to diet, some lifestyle factors can modify the risk of developing prostate cancer like maintaining a healthy weight and incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine.