Men’s Health: Eating well for Prostate Health

Can men reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer?  It turns out that making some simple changes to your diet can make a big difference.  

Rates of prostate cancer vary considerably around the world and diet plays a key role in this variability. A healthy diet and regular exercise help to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and enhance the immune system, which lowers the risk for various cancers.

To reduce the risk of prostate cancer, the evidence shows that men should particularly try to achieve the following in their diet:

Plant based diet

  • Enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
  • These contain vitamins and minerals, as well as an abundance of phytochemicals that reduce the risk of cancer
  • It is recommended we eat five servings of vegetables per day and two servings of fruit


  • This is the ‘roughage’ in plant foods that we can’t digest
  • It helps to eliminate chemicals from the body which may be cancer promoting, and reduces levels of hormones in the body which promote the progression of prostate cancer
  • As well as fruits and vegetables, foods high in fibre include:

– whole grains – such as oats, wheat, brown rice and millet

– legumes – including beans, lentils and chickpeas

– nuts and seeds

  • A higher intake of these foods has been shown to be associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer
  • Including a wide range of plant foods in the diet provides a variety of different types of plant fibre, both soluble and insoluble, which will maximise health benefits.

The right fats

  • Increase intake of healthy fats from whole foods like nuts, seeds and avocados.
  • Use olive oil, in moderation, in preference to ‘vegetable’ or seed oils, as these are high in omega-6 fatty acids that can be converted to arachidonic acid that may stimulate prostate cancer cell growth.
  • Increase intake of protective omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish twice a week, and/or flaxseeds, walnuts and soybeans.
  • Reduce saturated fat intake as this has been positively associated with prostate cancer in several studies.  Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy.
  • Avoid trans fats by limiting deep-fried and processed foods.

Limit added sugars

  • Foods like biscuits, cakes and pies should only be enjoyed as occasional treats.
  • They can contain added sugars and refined carbohydrates that increase serum insulin levels and so can drive up IGF-1, a hormone which may stimulate cancer cell growth.

The good news is…

Eating this way could also improve your heart health, reduce your risk of other chronic diseases, and even boost your mood!

Enjoy these foods for Prostate Health:

  • Tomatoes, especially cooked, they contain lycopene which protects against DNA damage.
  • Brazil nuts, fish and whole grains are good sources of selenium, an antioxidant which plays a role in DNA repair and the immune system, and is protective against prostate cancer.
  • Pomegranates, berries and grapes contain a powerful phytochemical called ellagic acid which has been shown to slow the growth of
    tumour cells.
  • Green tea was shown in one study to reduce the progression of prostate cancer by 80%, which may be due to powerful phenolic compounds called catechins.
  • Pumpkin seeds, baked beans and oysters are particularly good sources of zinc – men have higher requirements for zinc than women, and low levels may
    be associated with higher risk of prostate cancer.
  • Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and bok choy; in one study men who ate three or more servings a week.

Note that supplements do not have the same effect!

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