“How can I modify my diet to lower the risk of prostate cancer?” is a common inquiry among men concerned about their prostate health. Many hope for a list of foolproof foods from their physicians. While certain foods have been associated with reduced prostate cancer risk, concrete evidence supporting their effectiveness remains elusive, at least for now.
Rather than fixating on specific foods, experts, including dietitians and physicians, emphasize adopting an overall pattern of healthy eating – a goal that is more achievable than one might think. Here’s a summary of their recommendations:
- Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, favoring those with vibrant colors.
- Opt for whole-grain options such as bread, pasta, and cereals over refined counterparts.
- Restrict red meat intake, including beef, pork, lamb, and goat, as well as processed meats like bologna and hot dogs. Choose healthier protein sources such as fish, skinless poultry, beans, and eggs.
- Prioritize healthful fats found in olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), and avocados. Limit saturated fats from dairy and other animal products, and steer clear of trans fats found in partially hydrogenated fats present in many fast foods and packaged items.
- Minimize the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and certain fruit juices, reserving sweets for occasional treats.
- Reduce salt intake by choosing low-sodium foods and carefully reading food labels. Cut down on canned, processed, and frozen foods.
- Be mindful of portion sizes, eat slowly, and stop when full.
Additionally, maintaining an active lifestyle is crucial for prostate health. Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers but is also associated with positive effects on prostate health:
The Health Professionals Follow-up Study, involving over 30,000 men, revealed an inverse relationship between physical activity and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Men engaged in higher levels of physical activity were less likely to experience BPH symptoms, even low- to moderate-intensity activities like regular walking at a moderate pace yielded benefits.
Another study using data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study found that men engaging in an hour and a half of running or three hours of rigorous outdoor work per week had a 20% lower likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) compared to those with no exercise. The benefits increased with higher levels of physical activity. Interestingly, regardless of exercise levels, overweight or obese men had a higher risk of ED than those with an ideal body mass index (BMI).
Italian researchers assigned 231 sedentary men with chronic prostatitis to either aerobic exercise (brisk walking) or nonaerobic exercise (leg lifts, sit-ups, and stretching) for 18 weeks. Both groups exercised three times a week, and while both experienced improvements, the aerobic exercise group reported significantly less discomfort, anxiety, and depression, along with an enhanced quality of life.
In summary, adopting a wholesome diet and incorporating regular exercise into one’s lifestyle can contribute to overall prostate health and potentially reduce the risk of prostate-related issues.
Will you be changing your diet? What tips did you pull away from this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.