General Health

How needful is prostate cancer (PCa) preventive nutrition?

Modernization, erratic living routine and nutrient deficient unhealthy eating patterns have increased the risk of many chronic diseases. Unknowingly the body physically, mentally and emotionally is undergoing tremendous continuous stress leading to low immunity and endless proneness to life-threatening health complications. Most of the current era diseases develop with silent manifestations, remain undiagnosed and get noticed until and unless they became uncontrollable. Ironically with a simple lifestyle modification, major health mishaps can be prevented.

One such prevalent present-day deadly disease is prostate cancer (PCa). It is the second most common type of cancer and the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death in men worldwide. PCa develops after the age of fifty in men. Unfortunately, many patients do not have indications, they do not take treatment and 2/3rd of cases of PCa grow slowly.

Scientific evidence suggests that a positive life approach decreases PCa rates. Choosing a balanced diet and a normal lifestyle help avoid or delay conventional treatment for at least 2 years in patients with early-stage PCa. It is of high priority to get educated about the early signs like bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, testicular pain or unexplained weight loss. Better awareness about PCa will ensure proactive diagnosis and accurate timely treatment.

What is Prostate cancer (PCa)?

The prostate’s main function is to make seminal fluid, which is the liquid in semen that protects, supports, and helps transport sperm. The size of the prostate can change as a man ages. Prostate cancer begins when healthy cells in the prostate gland change and grow out of control, forming a mass called a tumour. A cancerous tumour is malignant, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumour means the tumour will not spread.

Symptoms of PCa

Some PCa grow very slowly and do not cause problems for years

  • In the advanced stage weakness, interrupted urine flow, inability to urinate, difficulty starting or ending urine flow and frequent urination
  • Blood in urine and burning pain during urination
  • Later stages with increased spread cause bone pain

Causative factors

PCa develops slowly and dysplastic lesions precede cancer for many years and decades. Major risk factors for PCa are

  • Age and family history
  • Genetic and racial differences
  • High smoking and lack of exercise
  • Greater body fatness, high waist circumference and waist-hip ratio
  • An unhealthy dietary pattern including high fat, sugar, processed and salty food leads to nutrition deficiencies

Nutrition and PCA

Good nutrition reduces the incidence of PCa and helps minimize the risk of PCa progression. Current research shows that better nutrition improves the overall quality of life. Additionally, a healthy diet helps to increase energy levels, facilitate recovery, and enhance the immune system.

Guidelines to prevent PCa with a Healthy life

  • Achieve and maintain an adequate body weight
  • Eat a balanced, mostly plant-based diet
  • Limit red meat and avoid processed meat
  • Be physically active

Foods to Avoid/Minimize?

  • Red Meat & processed meats
  • Foods high in saturated fat
  • Fried Foods, pizza, fatty cuts of chicken
  • Desserts (high in trans fats)
  • Dairy: milk, butter, cheese
  • Refined simple carbohydrates

What to Eat Instead?

  • Eat good protein foods like low-fat fish, legumes, nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts
  • Replace high-fat cow milk with Soy milk and rice milk
  • Eat calcium and vitamin D-rich foods
  • Use healthy fats like olive, oil avocado, and nuts
  • Consume cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts

Foods/Nutritional Supplements that are Especially Beneficial

  • Soy milk, soybeans, and tofu as they contain phytoestrogen compounds that decrease prostate cell growth
  • Green tea to reduce the rate of pre-cancerous growths in the prostate progressing to prostate cancer
  • Lycopene (red foods) reduces PCa cell growth. Rich sources are guava, watermelon, pink grapefruit, red cabbage, carrots, papaya, red bell peppers
  • Pomegranate to gain antioxidant and anti-proliferative benefits
  • Ground flaxseeds to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Tips

  1. Practice eating a balanced diet including all food groups in adequate proportion
  2. Set realistic goals and start by making small comfortable changes
  3. Manage portion size and avoid overindulgence
  4. Understand food labels to make smart food choices
  5. Eat colourful fruit and vegetable daily
  6. Restrict processed and refined grains/flours/sugars foods like bread, pasta, rice, cereal, cream sauces and cakes intake
  7. Limit excess consumption of high-fat meats and dairy products
  8. Include healthy fats such as flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, avocados, and olive oil in routine
  9. Consume dietary lycopene (30 mg) or tomato regularly
  10. Eat vitamin E and D-rich foods
  11. Drink green tea and plenty of fluids, water or non-caffeinated beverages, daily to help meet fluid needs
  12. Engage in daily physical activity (minimum 30 minutes) to help achieve and/or maintain a healthy body weight
  13. Cut down table salt and sugar intake
  14. Reduce alcohol intake and smoking habit
  15. Go for a full body check-up, especially post 30
  16. Take appropriate rest and manage stress positively

Conclusion

There is no magic formula diet to prevent PCa but conscious health efforts can reduce the risk. Good nutrition, a balanced diet and a mindful lifestyle with no adverse effects noted and no contraindications offer a cost-effective way to reduce the risk of PCa, slow the progression and prevent aggressive spread.

Adopting a prostate-healthy diet does not require eliminating favourite foods or drastically changing daily eating patterns. “A diet that’s good for prostate health is, generally, just a simple easy to eat a healthy diet.

Encountering PCa signs are stressful and trigger difficult emotions. Being fitness aware, proactively identifying signs, getting examined, and sharing fears and anxieties with family, friends, and doctors will help strengthen overall physical and mental wellbeing.

References

1.    www.ucsfhealth.org

2.    Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 1447

3.    Iran Red Cres Med J. 2013;15(4):279-84

4.    prostatecanceruk.org/publications

5.    Canc Therapy & Oncol Int J 11(3): CTOIJ.MS.ID.555813 (2018)

 

Author

Aparna Das Parmar

Aparna Parmar has over 8.5 years of rich experience in the field of nutrition and healthcare and is currently a corporate nutritionist.

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