Diet to Prevent, Manage Prostate Cancer

SYDNEY—A diet high in vegetables and fruits, and low in fat, excessive meat and excessive dairy may help prevent and manage prostate cancer, according to an evidence-based review by Robert Ma and K Chapman of the University of New South Wales. In the review (J Hum Nutr Diet. 2009 Jun;22(3):187-99; quiz 200-2), they call this diet a “cost effective and noninvasive means of reducing the risk of prostate cancer and its progression.”

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men worldwide. While genetic factors play a significant role in its development, research suggests that lifestyle and dietary choices can have a considerable impact on the prevention and management of this disease. This article explores the role of diet in prostate cancer prevention and management, providing evidence-based recommendations, including the potential benefits of Manuka honey.

Crucial Dietary Components for Prostate Cancer Prevention and Management

  1. Plant-based foods: A diet rich in plant-based foods is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, which have anti-cancer properties and support overall health.
  2. Healthy fats: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Replace unhealthy fats like trans and saturated fats with healthier options such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
  3. Soy products: Soy-based foods, such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame, contain isoflavones, which have been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. Include moderate amounts of soy products in your diet as a healthy source of protein.
  4. Lycopene: Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red fruits, has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes or tomato-based products, such as tomato sauce or paste, can increase lycopene bioavailability.
  5. Green tea: Rich in antioxidants called catechins, green tea has been shown to have potential anti-cancer properties. Regular consumption of green tea may provide added protection against prostate cancer.
  6. Manuka honey: Although not directly linked to prostate cancer prevention, Manuka honey, a unique honey produced in New Zealand, has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties due to its high concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO). Incorporating Manuka honey in moderation into a balanced diet may provide overall health benefits that could indirectly contribute to cancer prevention and management.

Dietary Factors to Avoid or Limit

  1. Red and processed meats: Consumption of red and processed meats has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Limit intake of these meats and opt for lean proteins, such as poultry, fish, and plant-based protein sources.
  2. High-fat dairy products: Research suggests a link between high-fat dairy consumption and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Choose low-fat or non-dairy alternatives whenever possible.
  3. Sugar and refined carbohydrates: High-sugar and refined carbohydrate foods can lead to weight gain and inflammation, which may contribute to prostate cancer risk. Focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for healthier carbohydrate options.
  4. Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of several cancers, including prostate cancer. Limit alcohol intake to moderate levels, as recommended by health guidelines.