Preventing Prostate Cancer: Is Your Diet Putting You at Risk?

Good nutrition may be one of the best ways to prevent prostate cancer, according to recent studies. Although the actual cause of prostate cancer is unknown, researchers have found that many dietary factors may place men at greater risk for the disease.

The good new is that there are ways to minimize your risk by making small dietary changes.

Eat Your Veggies

The most important change to your diet that may help in preventing prostate cancer is to add cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and radishes. These vegetables contain phytochemicals that detoxify carcinogens. Research shows that men who eat three or more half-cup servings of these vegetables each week reduce their chances of getting prostate cancer by 41 percent!

Less Animal Protein

Reducing consumption of meat, poultry, and fish is another method for preventing prostate cancer. Consuming too much animal protein leads to a higher level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which has been linked to prostate cancer.

Increase Consumption of Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain lycopene, which helps prevent cancer. Cooked tomatoes have higher levels of lycopene that raw, so tomato sauce and other cooked tomatoes provide nutritional benefits. In a study of more than 40,000 men, those who ate tomato-based foods reduced their prostate cancer risk by 35 percent.

Add Yellow and Orange Vegetables

Orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, as well as yellow vegetables such as squash and corn, are other additions to your diet that may aid in preventing prostate cancer. In addition, allium vegetables, such as onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions and chives provide organosulfur compounds known to have anti-cancer effects.

Avoid Folic Acid Supplements

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate which, when found naturally in foods, reduces your cancer risk. However, supplements of folic acid have been shown to increase your risk of prostate cancer. Instead, choose green, leafy vegetables or beans to add folate to your diet as another method for preventing prostate cancer.

Research has shown that supplementing your diet with zinc also reduces prostate cancer risk. However, the body does not always efficiently absorb zinc from plant foods. Therefore, adding a multi-vitamin that does not include folic acid helps in preventing prostate cancer.

Reduce Dairy Consumption

In a study that spanned 41 countries, men who consumed too many dairy products were at increased risk of prostate cancer. Doctors do not advise completely eliminating dairy products from diets because men need the calcium found in those products for bone health. Servings should be limited and men should refrain from non-fat milk. Please see a future blog that will discuss this in more detail.

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