January 1

10 Worst Foods For Prostate Health

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10 Worst Foods For Prostate Health

Introduction

As men age, our bodies begin to change, including changes to our prostate health. Some of these changes can be minimized. Here is a list of 10 of the worst foods for prostate health, and what to eat instead.

For men over 50, a common concern is prostate health. While there are many things you can do to care for your prostate—exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting regular check-ups—your diet is also an important factor in maintaining good prostate health.

Now, supplements can help. There are certain things you can do to supplement your diet with good things for your prostate, such as beta sitosterol. There also complete prostate supplements that can help (and the best one I've found is here).

But there is no substitute for good dietary choices for the proper care and feeding of your prostate.

Here are ten foods that should be avoided if you want to keep your prostate healthy and functioning properly.

"Inflammatory" Foods

What, exactly, is an "inflammatory food?" Well, let's take a look at the concept of inflammation as discussed at the Harvard Medical School website. [1]

Think of inflammation as the body's natural response to protect itself against harm. There are two types: acute and chronic. You're probably more familiar with the acute type, which occurs when you bang your knee or cut your finger. Your immune system dispatches an army of white blood cells to surround and protect the area, creating visible redness and swelling. The process works similarly if you have an infection like the flu or pneumonia. So in these settings, inflammation is essential—without it, injuries could fester and simple infections could be deadly.
But chronic inflammation can also occur in response to other unwanted substances in the body, such as toxins from cigarette smoke or an excess of fat cells (especially fat in the belly area). Inside arteries, inflammation helps kick off atherosclerosis—the buildup of fatty, cholesterol-rich plaque. Your body perceives this plaque as abnormal and foreign, so it attempts to wall off the plaque from the flowing blood. But if that wall breaks down, the plaque may rupture. The contents then mingle with blood, forming a clot that blocks blood flow. These clots are responsible for the majority of heart attacks and most strokes.

So, what foods are "inflammatory?"

  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • white bread and pastry
  • red meat/processed meat
  • french fries and other fried foods

Sugar-sweetened beverages and prostate health 

Refined sugars registered higher on the scale for aggravating prostate cancers than sugars from fruit juices and the like.[2]

It seems the problem is more closely related to "high fructose corn syrup" (which is the guilt culprit as the major sugar used in soda production). There seems to be something particularly bad about the fructose derived from corn syrup.

But as a note of caution here: substituting "sugar-free" pops for the stuff made with the high-fructose corn syrup is a very bad idea. Aspertaime is associated with several issues, including the production of fat cells in the body,[3]

In addition, there are studies linking Aspertaime with conditions that appear to mimic fibromyalgia. Often, people manifesting these conditions, once getting off of the Aspertaime, see the symptoms reverse.[4]

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White bread (refined carbs) and prostate cancer

Foods like white breads, pastries and cereals are made with refined carbohydrates which have been stripped of all their nutritional value during processing.

In addition to having the good stuff removed (micronutrients and the like), refined carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels causing inflammation in the body - including the prostate. There are two meta-analysis reviews from 2015 and 2020 that show a higher-glycemic carbohydrate intake and a higher rate of prostate cancer. [5], [6].

The connection is that high-glycemic foods can raise insulin levels. And higher insulin levels can stimulate the production of sex steroid hormones that can aggravate prostate cancer development.

Instead, opt for whole grain options like brown rice or oats which contain more fiber and nutrients than their refined counterparts.

Red meat, processed meats and prostate problems

Like it or not, the American Cancer Society recommends limiting your intake of red meat such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, and other processed meats like bacon and sausage.

There are many chemicals in processed meats (in addition to the huge amounts of salt) that are carcinogenic on their own, and so they also affect the incidence of prostate cancers.

The World Health Organization classifies processed meats as carcinogenic due to their high content of nitrates which can cause cell damage when consumed in large quantities. [7]

When you can,, opt instead for leaner proteins such as fish, poultry, or plant-based proteins.

French fries, other fried foods and the prostate cancer

Fried food such as French fries and fried chicken are typically high in fat which may contribute to a higher risk for prostate problems including cancer.

Results from these kinds of studies vary a bit. But a meta-analysis (a "sorting through" the different studies, looking for overall patterns) shows that a larger fried-food consumption was associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.[8]

It seems that certain carcinogenic compounds ("heterocyclic amines" and "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons") tend to form in the cooking oils.[9]

Instead of fried foods, opt for baked options such as oven-baked fries or roasted chicken breast instead, when you can. And keep in mind that eliminating some, sometimes (when you can) is better than not avoiding them at all. Every positive step helps.

Dairy Products and you prostate

Though dairy products are a great source of calcium and protein, they may also be a cause for concern when it comes to prostate health. High-fat dairy products like full-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream contain saturated fats that may increase the risk of prostate cancer. 

A study from Loma Linda University Health showed a connection to higher incidences of prostate cancer for men who had a high calcium intake from dairy vs. vegetables. [10]

Instead of eating high-fat dairy products, opt for low-fat versions or plant-based alternatives like almond milk or soy yogurt.

Processed Foods and prostate health

Actually, it's not just processed meats that are problematic. Processed foods in general are typically high in calories and low in nutrients. "Processed foods" is a term referring to foods in the grocery store that are from the middle of the store - stuff in bags, cans, bottles, in dehydrated boxes of stuff.

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These foods also tend to be higher in fat and sodium which can lead to weight gain—a risk factor for prostate problems including cancer.[11]

Try to limit your intake of processed foods like chips, candy bars, frozen meals, canned soups or vegetables with added salt or sugar.

Alcohol and prostate issues

Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society did a study over seven years[12] and found a fairly direct correlation between heavy drinking and an increase in prostate cancer.

In that study, "heavy drinking" was defined as 3 or more drinks per day, on average.

It’s best to limit your intake of alcohol if possible. Stick with one drink per day at most—which is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of hard liquor—or less.

Chicken (well, depending on how you eat it) 

There is a study that involved almost 1300 men that drew a direct correlation with the amount of chicken consumption and an increase of prostate cancer.

But there are some things to keep in mind here, before you ditch chicken altogether.

This study looked at chicken consumed with the chicken skin[13] as part of the consumption. It found that it was actually the chicken skin that was the problem for the diet, and not so much the chicken meat itself.

Part of the problem is that there are certain chemicals - "heterocyclic amines" - that form in the chicken skin as it's cooked. And these chemicals seem to have a higher incidence of contributing to cancer development in humans.[14]

So, eat the chicken but ditch the skin.

Eggs and prostate cancer 

There are different kinds of studies: observational studies, double-blind studies, meta-analyses and others. An observational study is one where the person or organization doing the research simply observes the participants. So it's an interesting way of looking at compiled data, but needs to be done carefully.

One such observational study looked at different men and their consumption of eggs. It found that men who 10 or more eggs per month had over an 80% higher risk of developing a certain lethal form of prostate cancer compared to men who ate less than a couple eggs per month.[13] [17].

Furthermore, there was another study that showed eating 20 eggs or more per month could slightly raise the risk of dying from prostate cancer. But that study also seemed to indicate that those eggs wouldn't increase the risk of developing the cancer in the first place.[15]

Or are eggs really a problem?

But it sometimes draws conclusions where there might not be a direct link. For instance, the study also found that men who ate more eggs also exercised less and had a higher fat composition to their makeup (BMI). [16] It also found they were more likely to smoke and have a family history of prostate cancer.  So, actually, it seems there is too much "noise" from that study to point to the eggs as the culprit.

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There are also other studies done, and reviews of the studies, that show the correlation might not really point to much of value.[17] [18

(And that is part of the problem with "observational studies." They sometimes draw conclusions where they shouldn't be drawn.) So perhaps the only takeaway here is that more research might be a good idea.

It seems that rather than passing a hard conclusion on eggs on this one, it might be better to consider moderation on egg consumption. Perhaps oatmeal instead of bacon and eggs in the morning is a better choice all the way around.

And if you want to eat eggs, boiled might be a better choice than fried.

Conclusion

Men over the age 50 should pay special attention to their diets since this is the age when most cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed. It’s important that you pay attention not just to what you eat but also how much you eat.

We have seen how processed foods are the enemy of prostate health (as well as health in general). Limiting red meats, avoiding chicken skin, cutting white flour and sugar as well as alcohol are all beneficial to your prostate health.

Sometimes the right choices aren't the easy ones. But that doesn't change that they're still right.

References

[1] What is Inflammation? Harvard - Heart Disease
[2] Concentrated sugars and incidence of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort. PubMed 30047347
[3] Does Aspertame Make You Fat? myaspartameexperiment.net
[4] Aspertame and Fibromyalgia Syndrome RespectCareGivers
[5] High glycemic index and glycemic load are associated with moderately increased cancer risk. PMID: 25693843.
[6] Dietary Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load and the Risk of Prostate Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. PMID: 31184513.
[7] The World Health Organization on read meat: Carcinogenecity on the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
[8] Fried food and prostate cancer risk: systematic review and meta-analysis.  PMID: 26114920.
[9] Consumption of deep-fried foods and risk of prostate cancer. PMCID: PMC3756514.
[15] Egg intake and cancers of the breast, ovary and prostate: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. PMID: 26293984.
[16] Dietary Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load and the Risk of Prostate Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis.  PMID: 31184513.
[18] Egg intake and cancers of the breast, ovary and prostate. PMID: 26293984.

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