Following a Prostate Cancer Diet

We know diet affects overall health, but it is harder to pin down how specific foods may affect specific diseases. Some populations have a lower incidence of prostate cancer than others. These populations tend to have diets low in red meat and high in fresh foods, especially fruits, vegetables and fish. Coincidentally-or maybe not-this is the same diet that is recommended for heart health. So your heart-healthy diet can also be your prostate cancer diet.

Avoid it

  • Excessive animal fats. Too much animal fat, especially red meat and dairy, is known to increase cancer risk.
  • Trans fats. These fats are unnatural and bad for your heart; studies suggest they stimulate cancer growth.
  • Excessive calcium. Too much calcium appears to increase prostate cancer risk. Especially avoid calcium supplements.
  • Flax seed oil. Although this oil is considered heart-healthy, studies suggest that it stimulates prostate cancer cells.

Eat it

  • Good fats, especially omega-3 fats. These are essential to good health; fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, is a good source. Eat at least two servings of fish per week. Olive oil and avocado oil are other good fats.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. These colorful foods contain a bounty of protective compounds. The lycopene in tomatoes may not only reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, but also slow the growth of already cancerous cells. Red grapes are high in resveratrol, and cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane. Both of these compounds appear to have anti-cancer properties. A long-term study conducted at UCLA suggests that pomegranate juice may help prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer after successful treatment. The reasons are unclear, but eight ounces per day appears protective.

We are still learning about all the beneficial compounds in these amazing foods, and it's still unclear exactly how many of them work. What is clear, however, is that diet and prostate cancer are linked in some way. The good news is, simply eating a variety of fresh foods and avoiding overly processed or fatty foods is good not just for your prostate but for your overall health.

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