By proactively making changes to what you eat, your activity level and other lifestyle factors, you may be able to decrease your risk of prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in American men. The potential benefits of these lifestyle changes are supported by evidence from a range of clinical studies, an important factor to consider when mapping out any strategy increase your health and wellness.
Changes you can make today
- Don’t eat red meat or processed meats. Skip the grill and frying pan.
Researchers have found links between eating red meat and an increased risk of prostate cancer for a number of years. One very large National Cancer Institute (NCI) study, that included more than 175,000 men, found that the men who ate the most red meat were 12 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer and 33 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer than those who ate the least red meat. The same study also found a link between eating processed meats and an increase in the risk of prostate cancer. The biggest increase was linked to processed red meats (bacon, hot dogs, cold cuts) compared to processed white meats (turkey lunch meat).How you cook your meat may also affect your prostate cancer risk. The NCI study uncovered a link between grilling and increased risk. Another new study found a link between cooking red meat at high temperatures, especially pan-frying it, and a 40 percent increase in risk for advance prostate cancer.
- Choose healthy vegetable fats.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body, a recent study found that replacing 10 percent of calories from animal fats and carbohydrates with vegetable fats, such as canola and olive oils, avocados, seeds and nuts, significantly lowered the risk of dying both from prostate cancer and other causes. This article from the University of California, San Francisco includes easy substitutions and modifications you can make to your diet
- Limit your exposure to pesticides.
Though you may not be aware of it, you may be exposed to pesticides every day through residue on the foods you eat, in the soil and water, and on plants and animals. Four of these chemicals, used on corn, to kill mosquitoes, and to treat soil, were associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer, especially aggressive prostate cancer in a recent study. To limit your pesticide exposure through fruits and vegetables, choose certified organically grown produce or wash and lightly scrub produce before eating.
- Make green tea part of every day.
In Japan and other countries where most people drink 10 or more cups of green tea a day, prostate cancer rates are approximately three times lower than in the United States, though the link between lower cancer rates and green tea has not been definitively proven yet. Studies have found a link, however, between a naturally occurring catechin in green tea known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men who have precancerous prostate lesions. In one such study, the men took a supplement that contained 600 mg of EGCG, but researchers believe that drinking steeped green tea yielding an equivalent amount of EGCG could also be beneficial.
- Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
Exercising just 30 minutes a day may help lower the risk of aggressive prostate cancer for men already diagnosed with the disease. A recent study at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, discovered an association between a daily half hour of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or moderately paced swimming, and a lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. Another study found that men who had benign prostate biopsies were at a 57 percent higher risk of developing the disease during the following 14 years if they were obese at the time of the biopsy, so it’s important to eat a healthy diet and take part in regular exercise to avoid gaining excess weight.