Have you been told to follow a healthy diet to improve prostate health but feeling lost on where to begin? I get it, there is so much conflicting information out there.
What foods should be included? What should be avoided? Should something else be done?
Let’s take it one step at a time and focus on foods to limit. This article will list 10 foods to avoid for prostate health.
Let’s dive in!
Diet and Prostate Health
First things first, does food intake really affect prostate health?
The short answer is yes. Multiple research studies have shown a connection between dietary habits and prostate health. In fact, diet interventions can reduce risk of prostate cancer and improve outcomes of those diagnosed with prostate cancer.
On the flip side, some dietary habits can worsen prostate health.
Circle back to the Prostate Cancer Nutrition Blog Page to learn more about nutrition and prostate health!
So, what are the top 10 foods to avoid for prostate health?
Top 10 Foods to Limit
As a Registered Dietitian, I never tell clients to completely eliminate an enjoyable food from their diet. Surely, limiting some foods can improve overall health. However, it’s unrealistic to think you will never again have some of your favorite foods.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Therefore, the foods listed should be monitored but don’t require complete elimination.
That being said, what foods should be avoided for a healthy prostate?
Number one on the list of the top 10 foods to avoid for prostate health, alcohol.
Don’t worry, you haven’t had your last drink for the rest of your life. Like most foods on this list, it is perfectly fine for most people to enjoy alcohol in moderation.
However, there are no studies with a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and overall health. This means that alcohol has never shown to positively impact health.
On top of that, alcohol can cause harmful effects for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Plus, there is a connection between alcohol and prostate cancer development.
This may lead to the question: what alcohol should you not drink? Some studies suggest that liquor would be the most harmful and is linked to increased risk of cancer as well as progression.
But overall, there is no “better” or “worse” option. The more important factor is quantity. Men are encouraged to limit alcohol intake to two servings daily. Large servings of alcohol at once is generally not recommended.
It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of cancer. Furthermore, regularly consuming foods popular in the Mediterranean diet pattern has been shown to improve prostate health. This eating routine recommends including 1-2 glasses of red wine daily.
Additionally, one study states that wine consumption is not significantly associated with the risk of non aggressive prostate cancer.
#2 Corn Oil
Corn oil can be used for cooking and is an ingredient in a few common foods. It contains an omega-6 fatty acid.
Corn oil is commonly consumed in high-fat diets. High-fat diets are associated with poorer prostate health.
It is unclear if the outcome is associated with a high-fat diet or the frequent corn oil consumption. Regardless, corn oil offers minimal benefits and intake should be monitored.
Additionally, an animal study concluded that corn oil may interfere with prostate homeostasis.
Common foods with corn oil:
- Canned frosting
- Baked goods
- Frozen meals
Check ingredient labels when you are unsure!
# 3 Soda
Overall, soda does not provide much of a health benefit. Plus, intake of sugar sweetened beverages has been linked to prostate cancer.
A study showed a significantly increased risk of symptomatic prostate cancer with high intake of sugar sweetened beverages. Soda is typically the #1 culprit of sugar sweetened beverage intake.
Other sugary drinks include:
- Fruit Punch
- Energy Drinks
- Most Sports Drinks
- Sweetened Tea
Avoiding food and drinks for a healthier prostate shouldn’t seem complicated. There are always simple substitutions. The best soda replacement would be tea for the antioxidants. Additionally, include water for adequate hydration.
If you prefer the soda/bubble taste, consider Olipop.
#4 Table Sugar
Despite the rumors, sugar does not feed cancer. However, some studies show that diets high in sugar can lead to cancer.
It’s not necessary to eliminate sugar. However, it is encouraged to be mindful of the sugar content of prepackaged foods. Additionally, focus on how much sugar you are adding to foods.
Consider natural sweeteners like honey or pure maple syrup.
High Sugar Foods/Drinks:
- Energy Drinks
- Frozen Coffees
The American Heart Association recommends men consume no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar daily.
#5 Whole Milk
We’re halfway through our list of the top ten foods to avoid for prostate health. Which brings us to number five, whole milk.
Now, I am not recommending limiting dairy as that research is minimal. Whole milk is on the list because I believe switching to low-fat or reduced fat milk could be an easy switch. Additionally, plant based milk alternatives have similar nutrient profiles and can be another substitution.
As stated above, there is a connection between high-fat diets and poor prostate health. Whole milk contains more fat than its counterparts.
Fat content per cup in grams:
- Whole Milk: 8g
- Reduced Fat Milk (2%): 5g
- Low Fat Milk (1%): 2.5g
- Fat Free: 0.5g
- Soy Milk: 4g
- Almond Milk: 3g
If this seems like an easy substitution, I recommend trying it.
Excess sugar can lead to many diseases and issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure. An unhealthy diet with a lot of added sugar can worsen prostate health and lead to cancer. Of course, candy contains a lot of sugar and offers little nutritional value.
On top of that, fructose may promote cancer cell growth. Fructose is an ingredient in high fructose corn syrup which is common in candy.
Candy is ok to eat sometimes, but I recommend limiting intake.
If you’re craving sweet, try frozen fruit or dark chocolate.
#7 Processed Meat
Number seven on the ten worst foods for prostate health: processed meat.
Multiple studies have shown a higher chance of prostate cancer and worsened outcomes for those with prostate cancer with increased processed meat intake.
Additionally, studies suggest that dietary fat, especially from animal sources, is associated with the risk of prostate cancer.
Processed meat examples:
- Hot Dogs
- Lunch Meat
Again, being mindful of intake is essential. Consuming processed meat once in a while is ok.
#8 Excess Red Meat
In addition to processed meat, excessive meat intake may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
As stated previously, there is a link between high fat intake and worsened prostate health. Red meat is typically high in fat.
Additionally, high fat diets can cause inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause pain and contribute to or worsen chronic diseases.
More specifically, red meat intake is correlated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Red meat examples include:
Organ meat should also be limited.
I wouldn’t recommend completely removing red meat from your diet, as it is a good source of iron, protein, and vitamin B12. Stay mindful of your daily intake of saturated fat. Limit red meat to twice a week or less.
#9 Hydrogenated Oil
Hydrogenated oil can keep foods fresher for longer. Manufacturers use hydrogenation to turn a liquid into a solid. During this process, trans fat is made. Hydrogenated oil also contains saturated fat.
There is a connection between dietary intake of total trans fatty acids and higher prostate cancer risk. On top of that, too much trans fat and saturated fat intake is linked with all cause mortality in men with prostate cancer.
Check the food labels of foods of preference, and try and choose the option that omits hydrogenated oil.
Common foods with Hydrogenated Oil:
- Baked Goods
- Coffee Creamer
- Some Peanut Butter
#10 Fried Food
Finally, the 10th food to avoid for prostate health: fried food.
Fried food is typically high in saturated and trans fat. Also, it is high in sodium.
Frying food is associated with prostate cancer. Excessive intake can also lead to heart issues.
Fried food can include:
- French Fries
- Fried Chicken
- Onion Rings
- Fried Oreos
- Mozzarella Sticks
Air frying or baking when able is recommended!
That concludes 10 foods to avoid for prostate health. That brings the question, “what can I eat?”
What Should be Eaten for Prostate Health?
Sure, it seems like a lot of foods are off-limits. But there are so many options available. Some foods can worsen prostate health. But some foods can improve it!
I want to emphasize: a generally balanced diet is always recommended. Eliminating favorite foods can lead to eventual binging or feelings of deprivation.
An overall healthy diet has protective effects against prostate cancer.
- Include fruits and vegetables regularly
- Add in whole grains when you can
- Choose lean protein
- Consume healthy fat and omega 3s
What Fruit is Best for Prostate Health?
Well, there is no one magic fruit. Aim for different types and colors; our gut loves variety.
Options can Include:
What Vegetable is Best for Prostate Health?
Like fruit, there isn’t one single vegetable that you should eat. Variety and balance are key. Add vegetables to meals and snacks daily. Many studies show improvements in prostate cancer and overall health with adequate vegetable intake.
What is the Best Protein for Prostate Health?
As stated above, processed, red, and organ meat can be high in saturated and trans fat. Including lean meat like turkey or chicken is a good option. Fish can provide healthy fat plus protein. Additionally, plant based protein can have beneficial effects. This includes beans, nuts, and soy products.
What Fat is Best for Prostate Health?
As discussed, high-fat diets can have harmful effects on the prostate. However, healthy, unsaturated fat may have beneficial effects.
Foods High in Healthy Fat:
In conclusion, limit or avoid these ten foods for optimal prostate health. Some foods can even prevent prostate cancer or promote positive outcomes.
Above all else, aim for an overall healthy eating pattern for the best prostate health.