Nutrition for a Healthy Prostate

By Elizabeth Hall

Good, wholesome nutrition affords serious protection from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer of men. The number of younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased nearly 6-fold in the last 20 years and the disease is more likely to be aggressive in these younger men.(1) A boy being born today has an almost 1 in 7 chance of developing prostate cancer at some point in his life.(2) Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in elderly men. How can you or the man in your life reduce his risk? Women often do have a part to play as they cook for the men in their lives.

Dietary Risk Factors

Meat: Harvard University research showed that even one glass of cow’s milk per meal can increase the risk for metastatic cancer of the prostate by 40%.(3) One serving of meat per meal increased the risk by 60% and both together synergized to raise the risk up to 200%. This basic finding has been confirmed from France, Australia, and Spain.(4, 5)

Other negative nutritional factors like obesity, meat-fat intake, and lack of vitamins and trace elements may also be involved in initiation, growth, and spread of this cancer. One study found that men who had the highest body mass index and blood pressure had a 36% and 62% risk of dying from prostate cancer compared to those who had blood pressure within normal range.(6)

High fat diet: By activating a protein complex (NF- kappa B, that triggers inflammation), a high fat diet can cause cells in the prostate to proliferate and encourage inflammation there. A high fat diet also increases free radical damage. All three of these conditions can lead to an enlarged prostate, inflammation, and cancer of the prostate. (7)

Obesity: Obesity increases the risk for aggressive prostate disease. The fat surrounding the prostate of overweight or obese men with prostate cancer provides a favorable environment that encourages cancer growth. (8)

Low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is common in individuals with various cancers.(9)   Prostate cancer has been linked to vitamin D deficiency.(10) Taking vitamin D supplements could slow or even reverse the progression of less aggressive, or low-grade, prostate cancer.(11)

Nutrition is vital after the diagnosis.

Men, with the diagnosis of prostate cancer, who persisted in eating mostly a Western diet (high in red and processed meats, dairy fats, refined grains, and desserts) had two and half times the risk of dying from prostate-cancer related problems than those who ate a prudent diet consisting of more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and fish.(12)

That is not all. The same study showed that the men who partook of the Western diet increased their risk of dying from any cause by 67% while those who ate the more prudent diet reduced their all-cause mortality risk by 36%.(13)

Delicious Defenses

The good news is that Loma Linda research showed that one glass of soy milk reduces cancer of the prostate by 200% even after adjusting for statistical cofounders.(14) Tomatoes, strawberries, and watermelon all contain the cancer-protective phytochemical lycopene. Men who eat 10 servings of tomatoes per week seem to reduce their risk for developing prostate cancer by 18%. (15) Eating soy with tomato seems to provide even greater protection.(16)

Early evidence indicates that regular consumption of walnuts may protect against prostate cancer.(17) Omega 3-fats may inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer.(18)

 Rodent studies show that inositol hexaphosphate (also known as IP6 or phytic acid) may help to control the progression of prostate cancer in its early development. These phytochemicals prevented prostate tumors from making new blood vessels needed to feed the tumor. It also slowed the rate at which the tumors metabolized glucose.(19) Wheat bran, whole grains, peanuts, black beans, chick peas, and mung beans are good sources of this phytochemical.

More Suggestions:

Prostate cancer has an almost 100% survival rate if caught early enough. So, men, keep up with your annual physical. If you are a smoker, give it up. There is a direct effect of smoking on the progression of prostate cancer.(20)

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 References

  1. University of Michigan Health System. “Prostate cancer in young men: More frequent, more aggressive?” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715165931.htm>.
  2. Inderscience Publishers. “Risk factors for prostate cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150929230115.htm>.
  3. Michaud, D.S., et al., Cancer Causes Control, 12(6):557-567, 2001.
  4. Severi, G., J Natl Cancer Inst, 98(11):794-95, 2006.
  5. Alvarez-Leon, E.E., et al., Br J Nutr, 96 Suppl 1:S94-9, 2006.
  6. “Metabolic factors may increase men’s risk of dying from prostate cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022080614.htm>.
  7. Eugene V. Vykhovanets, Eswar Shankar, Olena V. Vykhovanets, Sanjeev Shukla, Sanjay Gupta. High-fat diet increases NF-κB signaling in the prostate of reporter mice. The Prostate, 2010; DOI: 1002/pros.21230.
  8. BioMed Central Limited. “Obesity promotes prostate cancer by altering gene regulation.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924202530.htm>.
  9. American Society for Radiation Oncology. “Vitamin D deficiency common in cancer patients.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003132353.htm>.
  10. James R. Lambert, Ramon J. Whitson, Kenneth A. Iczkowski, Francisco G. La Rosa, Maxwell L. Smith, R. Storey Wilson, Elizabeth E. Smith, Kathleen C. Torkko, Hamid H. Gari, M. Scott Lucia. Reduced expression of GDF-15 is associated with atrophic inflammatory lesions of the prostate. The Prostate, 2014; DOI: 1002/pros.22911.
  11. American Chemical Society. “Vitamin D may keep low-grade prostate cancer from becoming aggressive.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150322080155.htm>.
  12. Yang, M. Dietary Patterns after Prostate Cancer Diagnosis in Relation to Disease-Specific and Total Mortality. Cancer Prevention Research, June 2015 DOI: 1158/1940-6207
  13. Yang, ibid.
  14. Yang, M. Dietary Patterns after Prostate Cancer Diagnosis in Relation to Disease-Specific and Total Mortality. Cancer Prevention Research, June 2015 DOI: 1158/1940-6207
  15. Jacobsen BK. Does high soy milk intake reduce prostate cancer incidence? The Adventist Health Study (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 1998 Dec;9(6):553-7.
  16. University of Bristol. “Fighting prostate cancer with tomato-rich diet.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827100218.htm>.
  17. Russel J. Reiter, Dun-Xian Tan, Lucien C. Manchester, Ahmet Korkmaz, Lorena Fuentes-Broto, W. Elaine Hardman, Sergio A. Rosales-Corral, Wenbo Qi. A Walnut-Enriched Diet Reduces the Growth of LNCaP Human Prostate Cancer Xenografts in Nude Mice. Cancer Investigation, 2013; 31 (6): 365 DOI: 3109/07357907.2013.800095
  18. Washington State University. “How fatty acids can fight prostate cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150318074521.htm>.
  19. University of Colorado Denver. “High fiber diet prevents prostate cancer progression, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109162032.htm>.
  20. AMA and Archives Journals. “Being a smoker at time of prostate cancer diagnosis linked with increased risk of death.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621164712.htm>.

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