The link between nutrition and wellness has long been established, even popularized by the
phrase “you are what you eat”: very basically, the food that you eat every day affects your
health, energy level, mood, and behavior. This means that the choices you make in the grocery
store, kitchen, and when dining out play an important role in your general health and lowering
the risk of disease as well as during illness and recovery, when nutritional needs are at their
Fortunately, there is plenty of evidence-based information that can help guide smart and
healthier food choices that pay-off with time, including as it applies to prostate health. Do you
want to take control of your health? Do you want to reduce your risk of prostate cancer or a
recurrence after treatment? Here are some initial tips to get you started on a path to wellness,
a healthier you, and a healthier prostate.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Studies have shown that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables relates to lower risks of
diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The recommended daily intake for vegetables is at least
five (5) servings per day. One serving is equal to 1 cup of raw vegetables or ½ cup of cooked
vegetables. The recommended daily intake for fruit is at least three (3) servings per day. One
serving is equal to 1 whole fresh fruit (e.g., apple, banana, pear), ½ cup cut fresh fruit (e.g.,
pineapple, melon, blueberries), and/or ¼ cup dried fruit. Whether fresh, frozen, or even canned
(drained), eating fruits and vegetables helps to provide the body with essential nutrients.
Anti-Prostate Cancer Superfoods
Some fruits and vegetables that are worth highlighting to help reduce prostate cancer risk
and/or recurrence after treatment are tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous
vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens. By
including these foods into your regular eating pattern, your body is provided with vitamins,
minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that have been shown to exhibit anticancer properties in
Tomatoes contain a compound called lycopene, a carotenoid known for its antioxidant
properties. Lycopene has been associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer in several studies, likely due to its ability to help limit inflammation and protect cells. Eating up to 30 mg per day from whole food sources of lycopene may be beneficial for prostate health. This equals ¾ cup of tomato sauce, juice or soup, 6 tablespoons of tomato paste, or 8 raw tomatoes. Tomatoes can be purchased fresh or canned, and cooked tomato products, such as tomato juice, tomato soup, and tomato sauce, have the highest amounts of lycopene. Tomatoes are a great addition to omelets, sandwiches, soup, and pasta or simply roasted on their own.
Cruciferous vegetables contain isothiocyanates and indoles that have been shown to hinder the
growth of prostate cancer cells and have also been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence and metastasis. Eating cruciferous vegetables raw or lightly
cooked—steamed, sautéed, or stir fried—appears to increase the body’s ability to absorb
important nutrients. These vegetables can be purchased fresh, canned, or frozen, and some
frozen varieties can be microwave-steamed in the bag for added convenience. Cruciferous
vegetables can be added to omelets, soups, sandwiches, smoothies, salads or sautéed with
some whole grains and beans for a quick and hearty meal.
Tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, along with other whole foods are valuable components to
include in your meals and snacks. A healthy eating plan is all about making the right choices in
the store, at home, and when eating out. No step is too small when making healthy changes to
your eating habits.
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