Prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer among men worldwide. It is therefore essential to eat right and get adequate nutrition if you have prostate cancer. For any cancer patient, his body works overtime to fight cancer. At the same time, it also does the extra duty of repairing healthy cells that may have been damaged as a side effect of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. At the same time, different types of treatment, especially chemotherapy — come with side effects that drain your strength and appetite. So, you need to keep a balanced cancer diet to make sure you are getting all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Impact of diet on prostate cancer
The impact of diet on prostate cancer is mainly being studied. A nutritious diet high in plant foods may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. One must include fruits and vegetables in it. By adding these items to our food, we can in fact, slow the growth of prostate cancer in those who have it.
A plant-based diet can help promote health and improve outcomes in prostate cancer patients. Try to include the following food items in your diet to get the best benefits.
Tomatoes and tomato products:
Tomatoes are an antioxidant that may have a protective effect on prostate health. It is high in lycopene. It should be included in the diet.
Broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, horseradish, cauliflower, kale, and turnips are cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are high in isothiocyanates, which, in fact, help protect against prostate cancer.
Vegetables and fruits high in carotenoids:
Carotenoids are a family of antioxidants. It is found in orange and dark green vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, winter squash, and dark green, leafy vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables helps reduce your risk of health issues, including heart disease and different types of cancers. It helps you lose weight or stay a healthy weight.
Target to consume at least five portions (400g) of fruit and vegetables daily. It can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned with no added sugar or salt. If you are taking tinned fruit, try to take in natural juice. The syrup should be avoided. One portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is roughly 80g in weight. One portion of dried fruit is 30g and should be kept to mealtimes. Try to eat various fruits and vegetables of different colors each day, as they contain other nutrients.
Cereals and whole wheat are good sources of folate. Naturally occurring folate is an essential B vitamin that may help protect against prostate cancer. Try to add more cereals and whole grains to your meal. Whole grains are high in fiber, which can help you stay lean and lower your cancer risk. Whole grains are also a great source of fiber. Additionally, dietary fiber can help you maintain a healthy weight and help reduce your cancer risk.
Beans or legumes:
Beans may help fight prostate cancer, too. They contain several potent phytochemicals that may protect the body’s cells against damage that can lead to cancer. In the lab, these substances slowed tumor growth and prevented tumors from releasing substances that damage nearby cells.
The Mediterranean diet recommends fish as well as legumes and vegetables. What you eat and what you don’t eat that count as well. For example, cutting back on processed and red meats, ultra-processed foods, and foods and beverages high in added sugar is key to a balanced diet.
Starchy foods are the primary source of carbohydrates – they give you energy and help you to feel full for longer, so it is essential to include some starchy foods every day in your diet. Aim to have a portion at each meal. Starchy foods include cereals, potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, plantain, sweet potato and yam. Choose wholegrain (for example, whole rolled oats, corn, quinoa, granary bread, brown rice) and other high-fiber options (for example, potatoes with their skins on, pulses and beans). As a general rule, a portion of starchy food is about the size of your fist.
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps to build and repair body tissue and maintain muscle mass. Protein also helps make new cells, such as blood cells and hormones. If you are having treatment for prostate cancer, you should aim to eat between 1 and 1.5kg of protein a day. Foods high in protein include beans, pulses, fish, eggs and also meat. Aim to have 2-3 portions of protein a day.
Dairy and dairy alternatives
Dairy foods are high in calcium. Calcium is essential for strong bones and your overall health, so you need some in your diet – around 700mg per day. Some studies suggest that eating a lot of calcium might increase the risk of your prostate cancer growing and also spreading. Other studies have found no link, but it may be an idea to avoid eating more than 1500mg of calcium – the amount in about 1.6 litres of milk – a day.
You will need extra calcium to protect your bones if you are on hormone therapy. This therapy can cause bone thinning, making your bones more likely to break if you fall over.
Choose lower-fat options such as skimmed or 1% fat milk and reduced-fat cheese. Some studies suggest high-fat dairy foods might increase the risk of prostate cancer growth and spread, but others have found no link. Non-dairy sources of calcium include soy products, plant-based milk and yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, and fish.
Foods to avoid in prostate cancer
A diet high in certain foods, like processed meats and saturated fat, can impact health. It may increase the risk of prostate cancer. This includes inducing oxidative stress and inflammation and disrupting prostate hormone regulation.
Try to reduce unhealthy foods and drinks high in sugar, saturated fat, salt, and red and processed meat. Always avoid added flavouring or preservatives. Low-fat foods are not always the best option-some may still be high in sugar or calories.
Eating a more plant-centric diet is always recommended for those with prostate cancer, as some studies have linked certain animal products, including eggs and red meat, with more severe forms of prostate cancer. However, your diet matters most when it comes to promoting overall health while living with prostate cancer.
Can a diet cure prostate cancer?
Following a nutrient-dense diet may help reduce the risk of disease progression, but it can’t take the place of medication or medical treatments. Regular medical care is needed to effectively treat the disease and eliminate or reduce its recurrence.
Research shows that specific healthful dietary patterns, such as a Mediterranean-type diet and plant-based nutritional patterns, may benefit those with prostate cancer. It reduces disease progression and mortality. Although healthy eating is beneficial, it should never take the place of medicine while managing cancer.