If you’ve had your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tested and your numbers were higher, you and your doctor may have discussed ways to lower it. There are also some things you can do on your own that may help.
PSA is a type of protein that’s made by both normal cells in your prostate gland and by cancer cells. It can be found in your blood and semen. Doctors measure PSA in your blood to check for new or returning prostate cancer. The higher your PSA levels are, the more likely it is that you have active prostate cancer.
Some scientific research has found that it’s possible to lower your PSA numbers and reduce risk of developing or returning cancer by making lifestyle changes, like eating certain foods and being more physically active.
Read on to find out six things you can do at home to have a positive impact on your PSA levels.
1. Eat more tomatoes
Tomatoes have an ingredient called lycopene that’s known to have health benefits. Lycopene is the substance that gives tomatoes their red color. It’s also been found to have antioxidants that might protect against cancer.
A few studies have shown eating lycopene reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer in men with a family history of the disease. More recently, researchers found evidence that eating higher amounts of lycopene can lower PSA levels as well.
You can add more tomatoes into your diet by eating them raw in salads, or by using tomato sauce and adding canned or sundried tomatoes to different recipes. Cooked tomatoes may actually give you more lycopene than raw ones.
2. Choose healthy protein sources
In general, going for lean proteins, like chicken, fish, and soy or other plant-based protein, is better for overall health. These sources of protein help you to maintain a healthy weight and protect against heart disease. They can also benefit your prostate health and lower PSA levels.
Avoid fatty or processed meats and instead choose fish that’s rich in omega-3s and chicken baked or grilled without the skin.
Soy, which is used to make tofu and other meat substitutes, contains isoflavones. Researchers believe these nutrients can protect against certain cancers. In fact, there is some evidence that drinking soy milk can actually help to lower PSA levels and slow the progression of prostate cancer.
3. Take vitamin D
Vitamin D is made by your body when you spend time in sunlight. It’s also found in fish and eggs and is often added to fortified foods, like cereals. You can take vitamin D as a dietary supplement as well.
Not getting enough vitamin D or having a vitamin D deficiency has been connected to higher risk of having prostate cancer, according to a study in Clinical Cancer Research. Other research has found that people with higher levels of vitamin D have lower levels of PSA.
4. Drink green tea
Green tea has been a popular drink in Asia for many generations. It’s become more popular in the United States as people discover its many health benefits.
The tea is full of antioxidants that protect against several cancers, including prostate cancer. Asian countries where men drink large amounts of green tea have some of the lowest prostate cancer rates in the world.
Some studies found the nutrients in green tea were able to protect against prostate cancer and lower PSA levels. Green tea was also studied as a supplement to help slow the rate of growth in men with existing prostate cancer.
If you have a high body mass index, this can complicate your PSA readings. Carrying the extra weight can cause your PSA to read lower, when in fact you could still be in danger. Combining an exercise plan with a healthy diet can help you lose weight.
In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, getting regular exercise has also been shown to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Research has also found that getting three hours of moderate to intense exercise per week is associated with a higher survival rate in men with prostate cancer.
However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t exercise the day of getting your PSA tested. This could temporarily make your levels go up and give an inaccurate reading.
6. Reduce stress
Stress can affect your body in so many different ways. It’s also possible that periods of high stress can affect prostate health and PSA scores. One study did find a link between abnormal PSA levels and high levels of stress.
Learning some ways to relax and decompress can help reduce your stress levels. Find something that works well for you and make time for it.
Eating healthier and getting more exercise is beneficial to your overall health. These are good changes to start and stick to.
If you choose to take additional dietary supplements, like vitamins or minerals, make sure to tell your doctor. It’s possible that these could interfere with other medications you’re taking. Your doctor should also have all your health information in order to make suggestions about next steps in your treatment.