Intl. Men’s Health Week – 7 Foods to Boost Prostate Health

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, and the fourth most commonly occurring cancer overall [1].

Moreover, an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is extremely common in men over the age of 50. Symptoms, including an obstruction of the flow of urine through the urethra, are usually present in 1 in 4 men by the age of 55, and in half of men by the age of 75 [2].

A diet rich in specific vitamins and minerals can keep your prostate healthy, lowering your risk of BPH and prostate cancer [3, 4]. Some theories exist, with many experts arguing that a “Western diet” high in fats and sugar may contribute more to prostate cancer. Others have said that high calcium/ high diary diets may also contribute to prostate cancer, although more research is needed to confirm the link [3].

Add the following foods to your diet to start supporting your prostate health:

1) Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain lycopene, and research has shown a diet high in this antioxidant can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by decreasing cell damage and slowing cancer cell production [3]. It can also help men with BPH, according to the National Cancer Institute [4].

Lycopene can also be found in watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruit, and papaya [4].

2) Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, and research shows men with BPH or prostate cancer have lower levels of zinc in their body (up to 75% lower than men with healthy prostates) [4].

Zinc can also be found in almonds, adzuki beans, and pumpkin seeds [4].

3) Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain high levels of vitamin C – 1 cup of raw peppers contain close to 200% of your daily vitamin C intake! According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C found in vegetables can play a role in fighting BPH [4].  

4) Broccoli

Research has shown that some of the concentrated phytochemicals found in broccoli, including sulforaphane, can target and kill cancer cells without negatively affecting normal prostate cells [3].

Certain studies also show a link between the amount of cruciferous vegetables you eat (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale) and a lower prostate cancer risk [3].

5) Green Tea

Green tea contains certain compounds that have been shown to reduce prostate cancer risk by impacting tumor growth, cell death, and hormone production [3].

6) Tofu

Soybeans contain isoflavones. Certain studies have shown soybean isoflavones reduce BPH growth and cancerous cell growth in prostates, as well as mitigate some of the lower urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH [4].

The National Cancer Institute has also shown that people who consume more soy have reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate and measured as part of screening tests for prostate cancer [3].

Soybean isoflavones can also be found in other soy foods, such as soy milk, tempeh, edamame, and cooked/ roasted soybeans [4].

7) Avocados

Avocados contain high levels of beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with BPH [4].

Other foods rich in beta-sitosterol include pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, soybeans, and pecans [4].


Your diet always has an effect on your health, and incorporating the foods above can serve as a prevention method! Being overweight is also a major risk factor for developing an enlarged prostate, so by making nutritious food choices, you will be able to lower both your weight and risk [4].




References:
1. Prostate Cancer Statistics [Internet]. World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International. 2021 [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/prostate-cancer-statistics/
2. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2021 [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph
3. Marcin A. 6 Foods to Boost Prostate Health [Internet]. Healthline. 2021 [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/prostate-cancer/foods-for-prostate-health
4. Bocco D. Prevention Diet: Foods for an Enlarged Prostate [Internet]. Healthline. 2017 [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/enlarged-prostate-diet