As some men get older, the prostate gland can become enlarged. The prostate gland is controlled by hormones, including testosterone. Certain foods and beverages are known to have an impact on prostate health because of their effects on testosterone and other hormones. Researchers have found that a diet primarily consisting of mostly meat or dairy products can increase the risk of prostate enlargement and cancer. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is thought to protect the prostate.
The top five foods known to benefit prostate health include:
- Tomatoes – According to scientists, lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, may be beneficial in the prevention of prostate cancer as well as reducing tumor growth among men already diagnosed with prostate cancer. In a review of 21 studies, researchers found that men who ate a lot of raw tomato and cooked tomato products were less likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Broccoli – Several studies have demonstrated a lower chance of developing prostate cancer among men who eat large amounts of broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables. In one study, investigators found that eating greater amounts of broccoli and cauliflower was associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Scientists propose that one of the phytochemicals found in these vegetables, called sulforaphane, selectively targets and kills cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected.
- Legumes – Legumes such as beans, peanuts, soy and lentils all contain biologically active plant compounds known as phytoestrogens. One such phytoestrogen – isoflavones – may contain cancer-fighting properties, known to suppress tumor growth in prostate cancer cells. A scientific review found a 30 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer among men with high soy consumption.
- Salmon – Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In a study of 6,272 Swedish men followed over 30 years, researchers reported that those men who ate no fish were two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who consumed large amounts of fish in their diet.
- Green Tea – green tea is an essential component of the Asian diet. Prostate cancer rates are significantly lower in Asia and scientists are beginning to understand that it may have to do with green tea consumption. In the Japan Public Health Center study of 49,920 men, scientists found a 48 percent decreased risk of advanced prostate cancer among men who consumed more than 5 cups of green tea per day.