(StatePoint) Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America -- and the older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with this serious disease.
“There is good news for those who want to take control of their risk,” says Dan Zenka, Senior Vice President of Communication at the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). “Recent research shows that eating right can help decrease the chance of developing prostate cancer, reduce the likelihood of recurrence and slow the progression of the disease.” Here are 10 nutrition tips for men to stay healthy as they age:
• Avoid “empty” calories by eliminating junk food. Snack on fruits, vegetables and nuts instead. Swap out soda and opt for water or natural juices.
• Rely on herbs, spices and garlic for flavor, not sugar, salt and fat.
• While fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet, limit the amount you consume from red meat and dairy. Avocados, olives, nuts, seeds and tofu are healthy sources of fat. Trans fatty acids found in margarine, however, should be avoided.
• Avoid taking more than 1,500 mg of calcium per day. Skip the supplements and consume your calcium from leafy green vegetables, beans and fish.
• Eat more fish. Evidence from several studies suggests that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they contain "good fat," particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
• A lack of vegetables in the diet is a risk factor for aggressive prostate cancer. Vegetables in the broccoli-family are especially beneficial. Use olive oil for cooking for a maximum health benefit.
• Avoid over-supplementation with megavitamins. Too many vitamins, especially folate, may “fuel the cancer,” and while a multivitamin is not likely to be harmful, if you follow a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils, you likely won’t even need a multivitamin.
• Marinate meat and turn it frequently to prevent charring. Charred meat of any type can produce carcinogens. Alternatively, get your protein from vegetarian sources.
• No matter how sound your diet is, regular exercise is its perfect pair. Recent research has suggested that exercise may be one of the best natural antioxidants, eliminating inflammatory molecules that drive cancer.
• While eating well and exercising may make a difference in the long run, it doesn’t always eliminate your risk of having prostate cancer. Start talking to your doctor about your prostate health and remember to get a prostate screening during your annual physical.
While cutting out your favorite foods may seem tough at first, there are delicious ways to enjoy foods that are good for you. For recipe ideas, visit www.pcf.org/nutrition.
Nutrition and wellness go hand-in-hand. Taking control of what you put into your body is a great first step toward reducing your risk for prostate cancer and other dangerous diseases.