In addition to keeping up with medical treatments, appointments, and medications, another way to improve your prostate cancer outlook is through a balanced diet. Introducing nutritious meals into your daily routine could help you progress with treatment.

Read on to learn more about the connection between diet and prostate cancer.

Research from 2021 suggests that diet may help prevent prostate cancer. But what effects do the foods you eat have on people already living with prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, according to the American Cancer Society. Approximately 1 in 8 men will receive this diagnosis during their lifetime.

What you eat may affect your outlook for this serious disease. Proactive dietary changes, particularly if you eat a typical “Western” diet, may help improve your outlook.

The impact of diet on prostate cancer is actively being researched. The 2021 research mentioned before suggests that a nutritious diet high in plant foods like fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

A diet high in certain foods, like processed meats and foods high in saturated fat, can impact health in a number of ways that may increase the risk for prostate cancer. This includes inducing oxidative stress and inflammation and disrupting prostate hormone regulation.

Plant-based foods, such as legumes, fruits, and vegetables, could have the opposite effect. Eating these types of foods may help slow the growth of prostate cancer in those who have it.

A 2021 study found that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fish, whole grains, and legumes, was associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer progression. A 2022 study found that the Mediterranean benefited overall survival rates after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Plant-based and Mediterranean diet approaches can help promote health and improve outcomes in those with prostate cancer. If you would like to replicate these diet guidelines on your own, foods to eat include:

  • Tomatoes and tomato products. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that may have a protective effect on prostate health, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • Cruciferous vegetables. Vegetables in this group include broccoli, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, horseradish, cauliflower, kale, and turnips. These vegetables are high in isothiocyanates, which may help protect against cancer, according to 2009 research.
  • Vegetables and fruits high in carotenoids. Carotenoids are a family of antioxidants found in orange and dark green vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, winter squash, and dark green, leafy vegetables.
  • Whole grains. High fiber, whole grain foods include oatmeal, quinoa, barley, millet, buckwheat, and brown rice.
  • Beans or legumes. Beans and legumes are high in protein and low in fat. They include soybeans and soybean products, lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, and carob.
  • Fish. The Mediterranean diet recommends fish as well as legumes and vegetables.

It’s not only what you eat, but what you don’t eat that counts as well. For example, cutting back on processed and red meats, ultra-processed foods, and foods and beverages high in added sugar is key to a balanced diet.

The American Cancer Society also recommends that you limit sugar-sweetened beverages as well as other highly processed foods and refined grain products.

Eating a more plant-centric diet may be a smart idea for those with prostate cancer, as some studies have linked diets high in certain animal products, including eggs and red meat, with more serious forms of prostate cancer.

However, it’s your diet as a whole that matters most when it comes to promoting overall health while living with prostate cancer.

While following a nutrient-dense diet high in produce may help reduce the risk of disease progression, it can’t take the place of medication or medical treatments. Regular medical care is needed in order to effectively treat the disease and eliminate or reduce its recurrence.

If you decide to follow these diet approaches for better health and outcome on your own, you must also stay on top of prescribed treatments and keep all of your medical appointments.

Prostate cancer treatment may include:

Some of these treatments may have side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, or loss of appetite.

Diet is only part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few other action items to keep in mind:

  • Keep active, if you can, by maintaining a social calendar or attending a support group.
  • Maintain a moderate weight. Obesity has been linked to adverse outcomes in those with prostate cancer.
  • If you feel well enough and are able, find an exercise you enjoy and make it part of your regular routine. Walking, swimming, and lifting weights are all good choices.
  • Eliminate or reduce the use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes.

Research shows that certain healthful dietary patterns, such as a Mediterranean-type diet and plant-based dietary patterns, may be beneficial for those with prostate cancer by helping reduce disease progression and mortality.

While beneficial, healthy eating should never take the place of medical intervention or supervision while managing cancer.