A healthy prostate is incredibly important for men, especially if you want to keep living your current lifestyle without having to spend a significant chunk of your day at a urinal.
Luckily, there are simple ways that you can support the health of your prostate. By making some simple changes to your lifestyle, including exercising and taking the right supplements, you can keep your prostate healthy.
Diet can play a big part, too. Some foods can have a greater impact than others. I’ve put together a list of the foods that you should avoid if you want to keep your prostate healthy.
1. Red meat and processed meat
Sorry, guys, but eating lots of red meat can have a big, detrimental effect on your prostate health. First and foremost, men who eat a lot of red meat are at a higher risk of developing cancer, including prostate cancer. Don’t worry, it’s possible to stop eating meat or eat a whole lot less and still be happy!
The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study showed that men who eat more red meat have a higher chance of developing metastatic prostate cancer.
It’s also thought that cooking red meat can produce compounds that may cause prostate cancer. Red meat looks red because it has a lot of hemoglobin and its close cousin found in muscle, myoglobin.
When you cook red meat, hemoglobin and myoglobin are broken down into compounds that can potentially cause oxidative damage. Those compounds can circulate throughout your body when you eat them, damaging your cells and tissues.
And, if you overcook or sear the meat, like you would if you’re grilling or broiling it, you’re producing even more carcinogenic compounds.
Eating red meat can also alter the levels of certain growth factors in your body, increasing your cancer risk. Additionally, red meat tends to be very high in fat, and a high fat diet has been shown to alter testosterone production, which has also been shown to increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Sugar tastes great, but it’s not great for your body.
Eating a lot of sugar creates inflammation in your body, including in your prostate. That inflammation can lead to prostatitis, which causes urinary symptoms like trouble going, as well as pelvic pain.
Inflammation can also cause prostate enlargement, leading to the constant feeling of “having to go” all the time, slow emptying of the bladder, and other BPH symptoms. There’s a strong connection between inflammation and BPH, so do what you can to reduce inflammation in your body.
High sugar intake also leads to high insulin levels and metabolic syndrome, which can increase your cancer risk, including prostate cancer.
High insulin levels, caused by eating lots of sugar, causes the body and specifically the liver to produce more of a compound called IGF-1. It’s thought that excess IGF-1 contributes to the development of prostate cancer.
Other studies have shown that high insulin resistance (caused by a high-sugar diet) is strongly associated with prostate cancer risk. And, the general inflammation caused by eating lots of sugar can certainly contribute to prostate cancer as well.
So, to keep your entire body healthy, including your prostate, limit the amount of refined sugar and processed carbs you eat.
Don’t shy away from fruit because you think it has a lot of sugar. Fruit also contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other compounds that can reduce your cancer risk and keep you healthy.
Unfortunately for any dairy lovers out there, there’s a strong link between diets that are high in dairy and prostate cancer.
The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found an association between dairy and metastatic prostate cancer; men who ate lots of dairy had a two-fold greater chance of developing this aggressive prostate cancer relative to men who ate very little dairy.
Dairy products often contain a lot of steroid hormones, which can really up your prostate cancer risk. If you absolutely can’t bring yourself to give up all dairy, try to only eat organic dairy, and try to limit the dairy that you do eat.
There are no added hormones in organic milk. Also try to make any dairy you eat nonfat or low-fat, which are also better for your prostate.
Including more eggs in your diet may also increase your risk of getting prostate cancer.
A 2011 study out of Harvard and UCSF found that men who ate an average of 2.5 or more eggs were much more likely to develop lethal prostate cancer than men who ate half an egg or less a week.
A 2010 study by the same authors also found that when men ate more eggs, their prostate cancer was more likely to advance and become more aggressive.
Eggs are high in cholesterol and choline, and the study authors hypothesized that those compounds might be involved in increasing the aggressiveness of prostate cancer.
As much as you love your glass of wine with dinner, or a beer while watching sports, consider giving it up if you really want to take care of your prostate.
For example, the Harvard Alumni Health Study found that men who drank moderate amounts of liquor had a 61-67% higher risk of developing prostate cancer. They didn’t see the same effect in beer or wine drinkers, though.
The Harvard Alumni Health Study is one of many studies that show similar results.
In fact, reviews of multiple studies show that the more you drink, the higher your prostate cancer risk. And, there’s a stronger association between liquor and prostate cancer than wine or beer. But, the results of some studies are mixed, and some even suggest that drinking more wine might actually help protect you from prostate cancer.
If you really don’t want to give up alcohol completely, try to keep it to just a drink or two a week to lower your risk of many types of cancer, including prostate cancer. And, you might consider switching up what you drink if you’re a liquor drinker.
If you really want a drink, consider swapping out your bourbon or gin and tonic for a glass of wine. You may have a healthier prostate if you do.
Maintain a healthy prostate
Curious to learn more ways that you can support prostate health and reduce your prostate cancer risk? Get my free guide, 5 Ways to Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk.
This guide will help you make simple lifestyle changes to lower your risk of getting the most common cancer among American men.