The prostate, an organ located under the bladder, produces semen. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
The risk of developing prostate cancer progressively increases with age. About 60 percent of all prostate cancers in the United States are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older. It is rare for men to develop prostate cancer before age 40.
There’s no absolute prostate cancer prevention, but evidence suggests diet plays a key role. Keep reading for diet tips and more information.
1. Eat tomatoes and other red foods
Tomatoes, watermelon, and other red foods owe their bright color to a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Some recent studies show that men who consume this fruit and tomato-based products have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t. However, the American Institute for Cancer Research cautions that studies linking tomatoes to prostate cancer prevention are limited and ongoing.
A 2018 study from Spain suggest that cooking tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb lycopene. The redder the tomato, the better because lycopene accumulates during ripening. That means that pale, store-bought tomatoes that are picked too early have less lycopene than vine-ripened tomatoes.
Nutrients and vitamins contained in fruit and vegetables may lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. Green vegetables contain compounds that help your body break down cancer-causing substances called carcinogens. A nutrient-rich diet may also help slow the spread of cancer.
By eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you’ll be less likely to fill up on processed junk food.
3. Consider soybeans and tea
A nutrient called isoflavones has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer, in at least one 2014 review of controlled studies. Isoflavones are found in:
- tofu (made from soybeans)
- alfalfa sprouts
Researchers have long studied the link between green tea and prostate cancer risk, with mixed results. A 2008 study showed that men who drink green tea, or take green tea extract supplements, have a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer than those who don’t.
A 2010 review of clinical studies showed that the cell and animal research confirms a link between the key ingredients of green tea and a lower risk of prostate cancer. It noted that further human clinical trials are needed.
4. Pour another cup of coffee
Indulging a serious coffee habit is linked to a decreased risk of fatal prostate cancer:
- Drinking four to five cups of coffee every day can lower your chances of fatal and high-grade prostate cancer, according to a 2014 review of clinical studies.
- Regardless of how many cups you drink overall, every three cups of coffee you drink can reduce your risk of fatal prostate cancer about 11 percent.
This describes a dose-response relationship between prostate cancer and coffee. That means the effect on prostate cancer goes up or down with the amount of coffee you drink. These effects may not extend to someone who only grabs an occasional cup.
However, high doses of caffeine can cause major health issues, such as irregular heartbeat and seizures. The Mayo Clinic cautions against ingesting more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, the equivalent of four cups of brewed coffee.
How coffee is prepared can also be a factor. A 2015 study in Norway looked at coffee brewed with a filter, and boiled coffee, which doesn’t use such a filter. Men who drank boiled coffee seemed to have a lower risk of prostate cancer than men who drank coffee prepared another way or not at all.
The chemicals cafestol and kahweol have well-known cancer-fighting abilities. Researchers believe these chemicals are trapped when coffee runs through a paper filter. Boiled coffee may allow these cancer-fighting chemicals to stay in your daily brew.
A 2014 study notes there may be a link between animal fats and an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition to meat, animal fats are found in lard, butter, and cheese. Whenever possible, replace animal-based fats with plant-based fats.
This, instead of that:
- olive oil instead of butter
- fruit instead of candy
- fresh vegetables instead of prepackaged foods
- nuts or seeds instead of cheese
Also, overcooking meat produces carcinogens, so be careful not to overcook your meat.
6. Stop smoking
Prostate cancer patients who smoke are more likely to have a recurrence of the disease. Smokers also have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer.
It’s not too late to quit. When compared with current smokers, prostate cancer patients who quit smoking for more than 10 years had the same mortality risk as those who never smoked.
7. Keep in mind controversial foods