While there is no definitive way to prevent prostate cancer, the average man can do many things to limit his risk of developing it in the future. Certain genetic markers and naturally occurring factors may inherently predispose some men to develop prostate cancer, but anyone can make better dietary choices to limit the risk of developing prostate problems. Food can also help in the recovery process after prostate cancer treatment and surgery.
How Nutrition Supports A Healthy Prostate
Prostate cancer research* has yet to identify any foods with a definite impact on cancer risk, but there are some general health tips any man can follow to limit his or her risk of developing prostate cancer or to manage prostate cancer symptoms and recover from treatment. Doctors generally recommend a diet low in fats and high in fruits and vegetables.
Foods That Boost Prostate Cancer Resistance
Dark, leafy greens promote good digestion and gut health. Adding lots of spinach, kale, collard greens, and lettuce to your diet can help boost your immune system and help limit cancer risk. Fruits have very high vitamin density, especially citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, for example). Foods with high antioxidant content such as acai berries, tomatoes, and watermelon are also great choices.
Avoid buying frozen meats or any meats with additives or preservatives. While it may be more expensive to buy meat from your local butcher shop instead of the grocery store, lean cuts of fresh meat are preferable to packaged meats. Overall, it is best to limit your intake of red meat and rare-cooked beef and instead choose poultry, wild-caught fish, and shellfish instead whenever possible.
Foods That May Increase Your Cancer Risk
Obesity is a major cancer risk, so men who eat lots of fatty, oily foods are essentially increasing their chances of developing prostate cancer or other cancers. While the research isn’t entirely conclusive, some studies have reported that men who eat lots of dairy products (milk, rich cheeses, ice cream, and yogurt) face a higher risk of prostate cancer than men who avoid these foods.
Any foods with high-fat content including some nuts, fatty meats, cheeses, and processed foods are very poor dietary choices for anyone, but they can easily increase men’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Fast food, processed meat products, frozen dinners, and packaged lunch meats are some of the worst food choices for anyone.
Other Lifestyle Factors That May Influence Cancer Risk
Aside from diet, you can make other lifestyle changes to limit your risk of developing cancer. Smoking is one of the most common cancer risks, and quitting smoking as soon as possible helps limit your risk of many adverse health issues including cancer, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and stroke risk.
Since obesity is a major driving force behind many types of cancer, men should exercise daily and choose physical activity whenever possible. Exercise, healthy diet, and not smoking are three of the most effective ways of limiting cancer risk.
Identifying The Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer
One of the most dangerous aspects of prostate cancer is that the illness can grow and worsen with no noticeable signs. The inflamed tumor will not press against any nerves, so a man could easily develop prostate cancer and not notice for years, until it reaches critical levels. This is one of the reasons prostate cancer screenings are so important. Most doctors suggest starting prostate screenings at age 40, but you can ask your doctor about a screening before this if you have concerns about your risk.
While prostate cancer may be asymptomatic for a long time, some of the warning signs can include:
- Difficulty urinating. Some men may find it difficult to hold back urine or may have trouble starting to urinate.
- Urinary frequency. Men who notice they need to wake up several times a night to urinate or urinate frequently in general may have prostate cancer.
- Pain or burning during urination. These symptoms could also indicate a sexually transmitted infection or urinary tract infection.
- Erectile dysfunction. Prostate cancer can interfere with sexual performance and make it difficult to achieve and/or maintain an erection.
- Painful ejaculation or minimal discharge during ejaculation.
- Blood in semen and/or urine.
- Pressure or pain in the rectum, lower back, thighs, or pelvis.
Any man who experiences these symptoms should speak to his doctor as soon as possible about the risk of prostate cancer.
Recovering From Prostate Cancer
Surgery is the most common remedy for prostate cancer, but there is no guarantee that surgery will completely remove cancer from a patient. Recovering from prostate surgery can also be difficult and entail a host of side effects including pain, sexual dysfunction, and urinary problems. Making changes to your diet after prostate surgery can help minimize the discomfort of these symptoms and bolster healing.
It’s crucial for any man recovering from prostate surgery to carefully follow his doctor’s instructions. A doctor may recommend several types of exercises to speed recovery, such as pelvic floor stretches and more physical activity in general. Doctors also generally recommend a diet based on whole foods after cancer surgery. This means fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, poultry, and other nutrient-dense foods.
Finding More Information On Prostate Cancer
One of the best things you can do in the fight against cancer is to arm yourself with knowledge. Synergy Lifestyle Medicine offers a comprehensive guide to prostate cancer so you can learn more about the risks, warning signs, symptoms, and treatments. Learn to identify the early signs of prostate issues and start thinking about better food choices you can make to improve your prostate health.