Concerned About Prostate Cancer? 3 Changes To Make In Your Diet
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S., and it should be a concern for every man. Your diet can have a significant impact on your prostate health. Many people know that some foods are useful in fighting cancer, but you may not realize that some foods can actually increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Take a look at some foods and beverages that you should avoid or cut down on, especially if you have risk factors for prostate cancer, like a family history of the disease. Making some adjustments to your diet now could help keep your prostate healthy in the long run.
Chicken and Eggs
One Harvard study shows that men who have prostate cancer and eat large quantities of chicken, especially chicken with the skin attached, are four times more likely to see their disease progress. Scientists attribute this to a type of carcinogen, heterocyclic amines, which is found in high quantities in chicken. The same study identified eggs as another risk factor — men who ate them had twice as much risk of their disease progressing compared to men who didn't eat eggs.
Since these foods seem to accelerate disease progression, it's fair to assume that if the conditions are right for you to develop the disease, eating too much chicken or too many eggs may kick start the development of prostate cancer in the first place. At a minimum, you should try to cut down on these foods, and if you're going to eat chicken, cook and eat it without the skin.
Eat This Instead: Worried that you'll lose out on a good source of protein if you cut out eggs and chicken? Start eating soy beans instead. Soy contains plenty of protein, and it's associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and a lower risk of mortality if you do develop prostate cancer.
Canned food might also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. It's not what's in the cans that you have to worry about, though — it's the cans themselves. Many cans have a chemical in the lining called BPA (bisphenol A). Even low doses of BPA can have a serious effect on the prostate that predisposes the organ to developing cancer.
This is because BPA acts like a synthetic form of estrogen. The chemical targets the prostate and causes it to develop an increased sensitivity to estrogen. As you age, the estrogen levels in your body rise naturally, and if your prostate is extra sensitive to it, you're more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Eat This Instead: You could just look for cans that specify that they aren't made with BPA. But a better option would be to buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned fruits and vegetables. In particular, buy more fresh tomatoes, watermelons, kale, broccoli, grapefruits, and cabbage. These foods contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant known to fight prostate cancer.
Bad news for those who enjoy a drink or two after work. Research shows that as little as two alcoholic drinks a day can increase your risk of prostate cancer by as much as 23 percent. Scientists say that this risk is often overlooked in studies that group former drinkers and those who have never had a drink together. Former drinkers tend to be less healthy because of the effect alcohol has already had on the body, which skews the results and has the effect of making low-volume drinkers look healthier than nondrinkers by comparison. In reality, even low-volume drinking increases the risk of prostate cancer.
And while researchers say that any type of alcohol can increase your risk of prostate cancer and certain other cancers, beer presents a particular problem. Beer is made with yeast and hops, and both of those ingredients can irritate the prostate, which causes the gland to swell.
Drink This Instead: If you're looking for a relaxing drink to replace the beer with, try green tea instead. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the prostate and can improve urine flow as well. Want something more refreshing? Try pomegranate juice. It encourages production of antigens that fight prostate cancer.
When you talk to a prostate doctor about your risk factors for prostate cancer, be sure to discuss your diet as well. Some small changes could be the key to helping you avoid prostate cancer.