Tomatoes contain lycopene — an antioxidant that may help prevent prostate cancer and reduce tumor growth in men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The lycopene from cooked or pureed tomatoes — such as tomato paste, pasta sauce, or tomato juice — is more easily extracted by our bodies than lycopene in raw tomatoes.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, contain certain phytochemicals that some studies show may help fight cancer cells. Other research has shown that men who eat more cruciferous vegetables tend to have a lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
Studies have found that certain phytoestrogens, a type of biologically active plant compound, have cancer-fighting properties that can suppress tumor growth in prostate cancer cells. Good sources of legumes include beans, peanuts, and lentils.
Consuming both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important, as they are found only in foods and are not made by the body. Studies have shown that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may help prevent both the development and progression of prostate cancer. Good sources of these healthy fats include salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, nuts, and seeds.
Zinc has been found to be an essential mineral for prostate health. Researchers have determined that men with prostate cancer have lower levels of zinc in their bodies than men with healthy prostates. Zinc found in food is easier for our bodies to absorb than zinc supplements. Good sources of zinc include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oysters, crab, lobster, beef, and poultry.
While many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, the vitamin C found only in certain vegetables may help lower risk of an enlarged prostate. The vegetable with the most vitamin C is bell peppers, but other vegetable sources include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to help reduce symptoms associated with enlarged prostate. Beta-sitosterol can also help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation and pain. Other sources of the plant sterol are pumpkin seeds, pecans, and wheat germ.
A diet rich in fiber can help protect the body from certain types of cancers. Beans are not only a great source of fiber, but they also provide a healthy alternative to red meat as a source of protein. Eating too much red meat has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.
Consuming garlic may help reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. It appears that garlic has an anti-inflammatory effect that may help with prostate cancer prevention. Research suggests that garlic has the ability to block the formation of certain cancer-causing substances and decrease the activation of such substances.
The bottom line
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the biggest risk factors for developing prostate cancer include age, race, genetics, lifestyle factors, and dietary habits. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet limited in processed foods, and consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best things you can do to decrease your risk of prostate cancer.