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Ten Tips to Help Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

You have the power. You can take aggressive steps to stop prostate cancer before it starts. Cancer often arises from diet and lifestyle problems — things you can start correcting today.

Blue Cure is dedicated to prostate cancer prevention by education, awareness and action. These 10 tips can help young men and boys prevent prostate cancer from arising later in life.

1. Eat more green vegetables

The cruciferous vegetable family, in particular, offers an array of protection due to its cancer-protective compounds9. Studies have shown that men eating the most cruciferous vegetables appear to have a 32% lower risk of getting prostate cancer10-12. For men with prostate cancer, eating more cruciferous veggies may help prevent it from spreading further13. One serving of broccoli and cauliflower a week appears to slash in half the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer13,14. So focus on eating plenty of broccoli, Bok Choy, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower, mustard greens and other cruciferous vegetables daily. Make a stir-fry, add them to your favorite dish, or even blend up a green smoothie with plenty of fresh fruit and kale.

2. Eat more onions, garlic, chives and leeks

These vegetables are part of the Allium family, and like the cruciferous vegetables, they have natural plant compounds that help destroy free radicals and limit oxidative stress15. Garlic is perhaps the best of them to help prevent prostate cancer16. Find dishes you already like and add lots of these foods! Making soups and sauces are some easy ways to sneak in these healthful foods.

3. Choose foods rich in lycopene

Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables their red color. This includes foods such as tomatoes (salsa and pasta sauce count), watermelon and grapefruit. Tomatoes are likely the best source of lycopene, and cooking enhances the antioxidant’s potential. Men eating more lycopene in their diet have been found to lower their risk of developing prostate cancer17. So go big on the marinara sauce at your next Italian dining! Even prostate cancer survivors may do better when eating more lycopene, but it’s not the pills, it’s the food18!

4. Orange and yellow vegetables also make the cut

Orange bell peppers have been found to cut prostate cancer growth by more than 75% in vitro19. Men eating more yellow and orange vegetables have been associated with less prostate cancer risk20. The carotenoids – a class of antioxidants — in these foods may be one of the main reasons why they’re so powerful. In survivors, higher blood levels of certain carotenoids and antioxidants may help men with recurring prostate cancer21. Color your plates with bright sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, squash and corn. And consider cooking these foods to release more of the carotenoids22.

5. Eat less animal protein

Plant-based proteins not only provide all essential amino acids, but also offer fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants that aren’t found in meat. Those adopting a more plant-based diet have been found to reduce their risk of prostate cancer23. It even can be helpful for cancer survivors. A lifestyle intervention study put men with prostate cancer on a plant-based diet and found that after one year their PSA levels dropped and no one needed surgery24. These kinds of plant-centered diets have been shown to double one’s fiber and triple one’s lycopene intake25. Incorporating more plants really could help. Having a greater ratio of plant protein versus animal protein is highly advised26. Choose more beans27, lentils, whole soy foods (edamame, tofu, tempeh, miso), whole grains and nuts and seeds for alternative protein sources.

6. Limit or avoid dairy products

Those relying on dairy products for their calcium might consider choosing more plant-based options28. Harvard studies have found men drinking more than two cups of milk a day have a 60% greater risk of advanced prostate cancer29. Even though dairy products have calcium, it appears to be not as safe as the calcium we get from plants30. A hormone associated with cancer risk known as insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) tends to spike when consuming dairy products31 and may be one reason for the increased risk. Plant foods have not been shown to boost IFG-I levels. In fact, they’ve been shown to bring levels down. Eating plenty of beans and green vegetables is one surefire way to get enough calcium while also fighting prostate cancer. Even oranges, figs, and almonds have calcium. Consider trying a fortified plant milk like rice or almond milk instead of cow’s milk. Boys drinking milk daily may have three times the risk of developing prostate cancer later in life32.

7. Move your body!

How? Anything can help. Play with your kids, chase the dog around and find healthy activities that you like to do. If you’re not a gym rat then take a walk, garden or practice yoga. Daily physical activity has been shown to help prevent prostate cancer. It’s also important for those living with prostate cancer33.

8. Be mindful of your stress

Those who are more fulfilled in life and feel that they have a purpose tend to live longer34. Men with prostate cancer who practice stress management appear to have a better quality of life35. Clinical trials using mindfulness training can help men with prostate cancer adopt better dietary habits36. Help a friend, call your family and focus on what’s important to you in your life.

9. Avoid antioxidant supplements to protect against prostate cancer

Dosing on individual antioxidants may be risky. Men taking lycopene supplements appear to have an increased risk of prostate cancer37. Vitamin E is great when it’s in whole foods, but in supplements it may increase prostate cancer risk38. Beta-carotene has been found to boost the risk of aggressive prostate cancers, as well as lung cancer39, so it’s best to be cautious. There’s no evidence to rely on antioxidant supplements over a well-balanced diet. Choose whole foods full of color and life over synthetic pills and powders.

10. Soak up the sunshine and breathe fresh air!

Roughly 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight gives most men enough vitamin D for the day40. Vitamin D has been widely studied and found to offer protection against prostate cancer41, 42. Make sure you are getting enough. Many factors like skin color, body fat and age will affect proper vitamin D status, so ask your doctor about vitamin D testing and consider a supplement if you’re low. As we should all know by now smoking is terrible for your health. Avoid tobacco at all costs! It weakens the bones43, promotes lung diseases and spurs many different types of cancers, including prostate cancer44. Please consider quitting tobacco and looking into smoking cessation programs.

Final Thoughts

Using diet to help prevent and treat prostate cancer looks promising45. These simple tips are just to guide you, not dictate what you eat. Eating should be enjoyable and not cause unnecessary stress. The goal is simply to eat more foods with fiber and antioxidants. By doing so you’ll leave less room on the plate for health-depleting foods. Plants have more than 100,000 disease-preventing nutrients46, and every trend in research shows the benefits of eating more of them. This November, embrace more plants in your diet, move your body and find ways to relieve stress. That combo could help save your life.


Sources & Articles
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