Protect Your Prostate by Eating Right

Monday, May 5, 2014

There are no guarantees to prevent prostate cancer, but you can reduce your risk by making these dietary changes.

Tea in mug

More than 200,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. After skin cancer, it’s the most common cancer for American men. While there are no guarantees to prevent prostate cancer, you can reduce your risk by making these dietary changes.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Multiple plant compounds have been linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer, including lycopene in red foods such as tomatoes and watermelon; isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower; and isoflavones in soy products such as edamame and tofu.

Consume a moderate amount of calcium

While it is important to have enough calcium in your diet for healthy bones, high levels (more than 2,000 milligrams per day) may increase your risk of prostate cancer. Given that one cup of milk has approximately 300 mg calcium, a general guideline is to have no more than three servings of dairy each day and limit calcium supplements to keep your total daily intake between 1,000 and 2,000 mg.

Drink green tea

Regular consumption of green tea is linked with lowered rates of prostate cancer. For example, men in Asian countries with low rates of prostate cancer drink about 3 cups of green tea per day. If you enjoy tea, go ahead and drink it green.

Be cautious with certain supplements

While selenium and vitamin E from foods are associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, selenium and vitamin E from supplements are associated with an increased risk. To minimize your risk of prostate cancer, stick with selenium and vitamin E from food sources such as Brazil nuts and barley for selenium and sunflower seeds and avocados for vitamin E.

Visit a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist to learn more about the best diet to protect your prostate.

— By Laura Prevo, dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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