The foods you eat can have a huge impact on your heath, including the health of your prostate.
By adding healthy, prostate-friendly foods to your diet, you may be able to reduce your risk of prostate problems, including prostate cancer.
Some experts believe that the high fat, high sugar Western diet may contribute to increased rates of prostate cancer.
When making dietary changes, you’ll still need to see your doctor for regular prostate cancer screenings, but you can start boosting your prostate health by adding the following 6 foods to your diet.
Further research is needed to confirm a benefit, but in a review of 24 studies, researchers suggested that males who ate more tomatoes were less likely to develop prostate cancer (
But how exactly do tomatoes help?
Because lycopene is tightly bound to cell walls, the body has trouble extracting it from raw tomatoes. Cooked or puréed tomato products may be better options, like the following products:
- tomato paste
- spaghetti sauce
- sun-dried tomatoes
- tomato juice
How to add more tomatoes to your diet
Eating Italian-style foods, like pizza and pasta, may help you add more tomato-based foods into your diet.
Focus on Italian-style foods that use a tomato base. These include spaghetti Bolognese or a caprese salad.
In the summer months, you can buy fresh, local tomatoes to add into sandwiches and chop into salads.
Drinking plain tomato juice each morning is another good option. Just make sure to pick a low sodium variety.
Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that may help prevent prostate cancer.
Broccoli is a vegetable that contains many complex compounds that may help protect some people from cancer.
The reasons why are still unclear, but researchers propose that some phytochemicals found in these vegetables, including sulforaphane, selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected.
Other cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
How to add more broccoli to your diet
You can add broccoli to stir-fries, soups, and salads, or simply eat it raw or cooked with some dip.
If you worry about fresh vegetables going bad, consider buying frozen broccoli so that you can cook it whenever you have the time.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane and other anticancer compounds that selectively target and kill cancer cells.
People have been using green tea for its health benefits for thousands of years. Researchers have conducted many studies looking at its effects on cancer.
The following compounds could explain the health benefits of green tea (
- xanthine derivatives
- epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
How to add more green tea to your diet
If you like the taste of green tea, start by drinking a cup each morning in place of your regular coffee.
If you don’t drink caffeine, try a decaffeinated version. If you don’t like warm tea, try cooling it in your refrigerator and adding ice for a refreshing beverage.
If you aren’t a fan of the taste, try using cooled green tea as the liquid in homemade smoothies, or adding green tea powder.
Green tea contains a range of compounds, including powerful antioxidants, that could help fight cancer.
Legumes are the food group that includes beans, peanuts, and lentils. Legumes contain biologically active plant compounds known as phytoestrogens.
Isoflavones are one such phytoestrogen. One review study found that people who ate the most phytoestrogens had a 20% reduced risk of prostate cancer than the group with the lowest intake (
The cancer-fighting effects of phytoestrogens may come from their effects on hormone regulation, cell death, and antioxidant effects.
While there’s still a need for more conclusive research, some research has linked soybean isoflavones with reduced prostate cancer risk (
PSA is a protein produced by the prostate. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in your blood and is used as a screening test for prostate cancer.
This research also seemed to indicate that soy was more effective when the person eats it in combination with other cancer-fighting foods.
How to add more legumes and soybeans to your diet
To add more legumes and soybeans to your diet, consider swapping meat for plant protein in at least some meals. This could mean trying Meatless Mondays, or moving toward a vegetarian diet or vegan diet.
Try making a black bean burger with lots of veggies. Homemade hummus, made with blended chickpeas, makes a delicious dip for vegetables or whole grain bread.
Tofu is a great source of soy. Try flavoring tofu with sauces and baking it or browning it on the stove, or adding it to stir-fries.
Legumes, including soybeans, contain compounds called phytoestrogens that may suppress tumor growth.
Like red wine or green tea, pomegranates are a rich source of antioxidants.
Pomegranate juice has a reputation as a “miracle fruit” due to its high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent chronic diseases related to oxidative stress.
The NCI says that pomegranate juice and some of its bioactive components can inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer cells (
How to add more pomegranate juice to your diet
You can buy pomegranate juice at most grocery stores. If drinking the juice plain is too intense, consider diluting it with plain water or adding some sparkling water.
You can also add pomegranate seeds to homemade salad dressing to sweeten up your favorite salad.
Pomegranates are high in antioxidants. Studies have shown that pomegranate juice could inhibit the production of some prostate cancer cells.
The traditional Western diet has a lot of omega-6 fatty acids but not many omega-3s. Having a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is linked with better health outcomes (15).
Fatty fish have plenty of other health benefits. Try eating fatty fish found in cold waters to increase your omega-3 intake. These include:
How to add more fish to your diet
Adding more omega-3s to your diet can be as easy as cracking open a can of sardines or tuna. Not everyone is so enthusiastic about fish, though. It can also be expensive.
If you haven’t enjoyed fish in the past, try a different type. Each one has a unique flavor. The flavor is also milder if the fish is fresh, so your taste buds may enjoy fish more if you buy it from a fish counter and make it that day.
Cod, flounder, and trout have milder flavors. Try topping your fish with a lemon sauce, or to add another prostate-friendly food, try baked cod in a tomato sauce.
To stretch your dollar, you can also add fish to a hearty dish, like pasta, soup, salad, or sandwiches. That way you won’t need as much fish to make a complete meal.
You can also ask your doctor about taking omega-3 supplements.
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, contain healthful omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds may help keep the prostate healthy, though more studies are needed.
Foods that contain key compounds may help keep your prostate healthy and reduce your risk of prostate cancer. That said, researchers need to conduct many more studies before we know exactly how diet affects prostate health.
It’s a good idea to check in with your doctor before making changes to your diet, especially if you’re receiving treatment for prostate cancer. This is because certain foods may interact with different drugs and therapies.
Some supplements that are high in antioxidants, like pomegranate extract, may counteract the effects of radiation therapy. People should avoid supplements with high levels of antioxidants during radiation treatment.
That said, most of the items on this list are healthful, nutritious foods. Eating these foods as part of a healthy lifestyle can help keep your whole body healthy.