Back in the time when there weren’t doctors, medications, hospitals, and the internet, people relied on food to support their health and wellbeing. When someone got sick, their ailment was treated with herbs, spices, fruits, or vegetables. Why? That’s because food is a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients that help the body function properly. Studies have shown that nutrition can help manage different types of cancer, including the one affecting your prostate. The primary objective of this paper is to provide a more useful insight into foods good for the prostate and the disease itself.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system. The purpose of the gland is to produce most of the semen that carries the sperm. The prostate is located right beneath a man’s bladder surrounding the upper part of the tube that carries urine from bladder, urethra. The gland is prone to diseases such as enlarged prostate, but the likelihood of developing these problems increases with age. The most severe problem that affects this gland is prostate cancer.
Cancer occurs when cells in the affected organ, tissue, or in this case, gland start growing abnormally. When it comes to prostate cancer, most cases account for adenocarcinomas, according to the American Cancer Society. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that develops from gland cells. Other types of prostate cancer are rare, and they include sarcomas, transitional cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors, and small cell carcinomas.
What causes prostate cancer?
Scientists still aren’t sure what causes prostate cancer. In fact, the exact cause of many types of cancer is unknown. However, they have successfully identified a number of risk factors that increase a man’s likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Essentially, the changes in the DNA of normal prostate cells promote the formation of cancer. These gene mutations could be inherited or acquired. Although it’s not quite clear what induces gene mutations, a combination of different factors plays a role rather than a single cause. The most common risk factors associated with prostate cancer are:
- Age – prostate cancer is usually found in men older than 65, it is rare for men under 40 to develop this severe disease
- Race/ethnicity – African-American and Caribbean men of African ancestry are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of other races
- Geography – prostate cancer is most prevalent in North America, northwestern Europe, the Caribbean islands, and Australia. It is less common in regions such as Central America, Asia, South America, and Africa
- Family history – having a family member who had prostate cancer increases the risk of developing the disease
- Other factors – obesity, smoking, chemical exposures, inflammation of the prostate, sexually transmitted infections
Can diet help with prostate cancer?
An unhealthy diet and excessive consumption of red meat, processed meats, calcium, is strongly associated with the incidence of prostate cancer. It is claimed that modifications in the eating pattern can help prevent and manage this disease. But, we still have to wonder whether the idea of a healthy diet for prostate cancer patients is supported by science.
A growing body of evidence confirms that dietary interventions for the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer hold a great promise. Evidence also shows that a healthy heart equals a healthy prostate too. Bear in mind that a specific diet program for prostate cancer prevention and management doesn’t exist. Maybe in the future, we see some specific dietary program that men should follow, but for now, you should increase the consumption of foods that were scientifically proven to protect prostate health.
Which are the diet foods for prostate health?
An increasing number of studies confirm that diet plays a big role in prostate cancer biology and tumorigenesis. Basically, foods good for prostate cancer can both prevent and help manage the disease. Scientists have identified different types of food that benefit men with prostate cancer, including green tea, soy isoflavones, lycopene, cruciferous vegetables, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Here are some foods that promote prostate health:
Blueberries are the richest source of antioxidants, and thanks to the abundance of nutrients, they are also considered to be a superfood. It is the antioxidant content of blueberries that helps prevent prostate cancer by influencing the androgen-dependent growth of prostate cancer cells, according to the study from Cancer Letters.
Green tea is more than an ingredient found in weight loss supplements; it is a beverage with an amazing potential to support your health in more ways than one. Studies show that catechins from green tea are effective in the prevention of prostate cancer. Catechins are powerful antioxidants that prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading while stimulating cancer cell death.
There is a reason why Asian men have a lower incidence of prostate cancer than men in Western Europe and the United States. Not only do they consume green tea regularly, but they also consume soy. Although soy is usually associated with breast cancer prevention, it can also help men lower the risk of the common disease affecting them. Evidence shows that consumption of soy foods is linked with a reduction in prostate cancer risk, but it’s important what you eat. While the tofu and soy milk help prevent the disease, consumption of fermented soy foods isn’t associated with the risk.
Nobody hates watermelons, and now you have yet another reason to eat them – they prevent cancer. Why? Just like tomatoes, watermelons are also abundant in lycopene, which protects the prostate from cancer. Plus, watermelons are rich sources of vitamins A and C, both of which are powerful antioxidants.
Salmon and other fatty fish are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which exhibit strong anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, they inhibit tumor growth and aid cancer management. That being said, you should stick to the moderate consumption as too much Omega-3s could also harm your prostate.
Other foods to eat
- Citrus fruits
- Pomegranate juice
- Red grapes
- Cruciferous vegetables
Besides a healthy diet for prostate cancer patients, it is also recommended to make changes in lifestyle. Instead of being sedentary, try to increase physical activity levels and exercise regularly. It is of huge importance to keep the weight in a healthy range because obesity is strongly linked to higher prostate cancer risk and the severity of the disease. Moreover, strive to quit smoking, and although it may seem like an impossible thing to do, all that it takes is strong willpower and support from loved ones.
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that usually affects men older than 65, but in some instances, younger men can develop the disease too. Food plays a big role in one’s risk of developing this cancer. An unhealthy diet makes you more susceptible to developing prostate cancer, while a healthy diet helps you prevent or treat it. Just by adjusting the eating pattern, you can improve prostate health and avoid many problems affecting the gland, including cancer. Make sure your diet contains food good for prostate cancer, rich in nutrients and antioxidants, but it’s always good to stick to moderate consumption.