The prostate, which is part of the male reproductive system, is a gland that surrounds the bladder and urethra. It is about the size of a walnut and grows throughout a man’s life. As you age, it’s important to maintain a healthy prostate. The gland can become enlarged, and prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men.
There’s no definitive evidence that good nutrition can prevent prostate problems, but eating a healthy balanced diet may reduce your risk.
- Watermelon – Watermelon is fat-free, sodium-free, and high in vitamins A and C. It’s also an excellent source of lycopene, the antioxidant that gives whole foods like tomatoes and watermelons their color. Research suggests that lycopene may help lower prostate cancer risk. Lycopene can be found in foods like tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya. There’s about 9 to 13 milligrams of lycopene in a cup and a half of watermelon.
- Beans – Replace meat with beans. They’re full of protein and nutrients. Black beans, for example, pack a lot of nutritional punch. Just one cup has about 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, which may promote prostate health.
- Nuts – Healthy fats like those found in nuts can help lower your cholesterol and promote brain health. Brazil nuts are not only a good source of vital nutrients like vitamin E and calcium, they’re also full of the mineral selenium. A 2010 study suggests that selenium may help fight prostate cancer, though more research is still needed. Nuts can be pretty fatty, so remember more is less.
- Berries – Berries like strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial since they prevent damage from free radicals, molecules that attack healthy cells and can contribute to cancer risk. Vitamin C may also help ease benign prostate hyperplasia symptoms by promoting urination and reducing swelling.
- Fatty Fish – Fatty fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, help with weight loss, and can reduce the risk of heart attack. Although experts typically recommend cutting down on animal fat for prostate health, a diet high in omega 3’s can boost prostate health. A study published last year found that omega-3 fats modulate prostate cancer development, likely because of their anti-inflammatory effects, and ultimately inhibiting tumor growth. Consider replacing some other animal fats with that from fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and tuna.