Every year, about 233,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer. The disease is also affecting men at younger and younger ages. How can you avoid being one of them? You can decrease your risk factors by following some guidelines on diet and exercise.
1. Get moving
Exercise is one of the most important ways to prevent prostate cancer and a lot of other health problems like obesity (a risk factor for prostate cancer), heart disease, and other prostate conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis. The research on exercise and prostate cancer shows exercise to make a big difference in preventing prostate cancer and reducing the risk for aggressive prostate cancer.
A doctor at the Duke University Prostate Center and the VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, evaluated 190 men who had biopsies for possible prostate cancer. After looking at the results and accounting for the patients’ age, weight, race, body mass index, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and several other factors, the researchers found that the men who exercised the equivalent of three to six hours of walking per week were two-thirds less likely to have a biopsy positive for prostate cancer. Even moving just a little reduces the risk for aggressive prostate cancer, as the men who exercised the equivalent of only one to three hours of walking each week had an 86 percent lower risk of having an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Researchers from several top universities found that men who did at least three hours per week of vigorous physical activity had a 61 percent lower risk for dying from prostate cancer. Vigorous exercises include jogging, playing tennis, cycling and swimming.
2. Eat cancer-killing foods
Another important way to reduce your risk for prostate cancer is to consume foods and nutrients that have anticancer properties. There are several natural cancer killers you can eat or take in supplement form to support your own body’s immunity and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The top cancer fighters include green tea, turmeric/curcumin, vitamin D, pomegranate, lycopene (an antioxidant in tomato products), cruciferous vegetables, cayenne and more. Replace animal fats with heart-healthy oils such as those found in olives, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
3. void foods that cause cancer
Just as what to eat is important, drinking all the pomegranate juice in the world is not going to make any difference if you are using it to wash down French fries, doughnuts, and bacon. Avoid red meats, processed meats and meat cooked at high temperatures (which can cause carcinogens to form). Fried foods are particularly harmful to your prostate health as well as to maintaining a healthy weight. Avoid milk and dairy products. Even though processed tomatoes are very healthful, canned tomatoes are to be avoided because the resin linings of the cans contain bisphenol-A (BPA) that may be associated with an increased risk of cancer and other problems.
4. Drink green tea
Men living in Japan have some of the lowest rates of prostate cancer in the world. There may be several reasons for this from their activity level, stress management, and diet, but one thing that stands out is their consumption of green tea. Men in Japan often drink about 10 cups of green tea per day. Studies show that green tea, which is very high in powerful antioxidants, slows the growth of human prostate cancer. So trade in your coffee and soda for some green tea or take a green tea supplement to help promote your prostate health.
5. Manage your stress
The mind has an amazing power to affect the immune system. Many experts say that stress may play a role in the formation of cancer because it triggers an immune system response that can initiate uncontrollable cell mutation. That is why finding a way to manage your stress is important to your health and preventing prostate cancer. Some men have success with meditation, while others may prefer hitting the gym, going for a run, doing yoga, or even Tai Chi. Find what activities reduce your stress level, and stick with it. Stress is not just bad for your prostate. Your whole-body health will also improve when you take steps to manage your stress.
6. Go fish
Eating oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids once a week may reduce your risk for prostate cancer by 63 percent. Look for fish such as wild salmon (avoid farmed fish), tuna, herring, anchovies, and oysters. Fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids are among the top five foods for men over 40.
In addition to following these easy six ways to prevent prostate cancer, you should also be proactive in getting screened for prostate cancer by getting a prostate exam and a PSA test. Know your risk factors for prostate cancer. If you have a family history of prostate cancer or are African American, talk to your doctor about when you should start getting screened for prostate cancer because these factors put you at an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer. Detecting and treating prostate cancer early will give you the best chance of beating this disease.
- Kenfield SA et al. “Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study” — J Clin Oncol 2011 Feb 20; 29(6): 726-32