3 Foods That Can Help Prevent Prostate Cancer, According To An Oncologist

Maintaining a healthy prostate is one of the most important ways to help prevent prostate cancer. In an exclusive interview, Health Digest spoke with Dr. J. Ben Wilkinson, radiation oncologist with Coastal Radiation Oncology in collaboration with GenesisCare, about steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. 

According to Dr. Wilkinson, there are several helpful actions you can take — many of which are the same recommendations for reducing the risk of other forms of cancer. For starters, try to avoid drinking or smoking.

You should also know your family history. "Know your family history, because if prostate or other types of cancer are in your family, you'll need to take the above steps even more seriously," says Dr. Wilkinson. He also recommends regular sexual activity. "Staying sexually active may also decrease your risk, with some studies suggesting that men who ejaculate 2 to 3 times a week are less likely to develop prostate cancer."

In terms of diet and exercise, you should exercise for 30-minute sessions at least 3 times a week."Eat a diet that is high in fiber, fruits, the right kinds of vegetables, and whole grains while remaining low in saturated fat and added sugar," says Dr. Wilkinson. "Avoiding overeating and if you are obese, start to make small, incremental improvements to your lifestyle on a daily basis to slim down and reduce negative health effects." Keep reading to learn more about the types of foods that Dr. Wilkinson recommends eating to help prevent prostate cancer

Do you eat these foods?

According to Dr. Wilkinson, you'll want to avoid diets high in saturated fats and added sugars; go for foods like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and bok choy, cooked tomatoes, or fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna. "Cruciferous vegetables have a high amount of beneficial nutrients including vitamins C, E, and K," says Dr. Wilkinson. "Broccoli, a prostate superfood, contains high amounts of glucoraphanin, which through the process of preparation, eating, and digestion, is converted into isothiocyanates." Notably, isothiocyanates lead to a decrease in the development of cancer by protecting cellular DNA, preventing inflammation, and inhibiting tumor cell movement.

It's important to cook those tomatoes. "The specification of 'cooked' is important in this instance because the essential chemical, lycopene, which is also found in grapefruit and watermelons, is released through the process of cooking the fruit, effectively loosening the bond and making it more readily absorbable by the body," says Dr. Wilkinson. "Lycopene is found to accumulate in the prostate specifically and is linked to a decrease in cancer risk due to its ability to prevent damage to the DNA." 

Finally, it's best to limit your intake of fatty red meat and red meat in general. "Incorporating fish can be an alternative for your body to receive the same amount of essential proteins and minerals without having to consume as much red meat," says Dr. Wilkinson. "In particular, cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are especially beneficial due to their high content of omega-3."