Vegetarian diets reduce the risk of prostate cancer

Ongoing research suggests that a plant-based diet can reduce men’s risk of developing prostate cancer, according to experts from the renowned Cleveland Clinic.

Urologist Bradley Gale said that the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle are well known in various health fields, and even though its effect on prostate health remains somewhat unclear, recent research indicates a possible link between a lower risk of prostate cancer and avoidance of some animal-based products.

Furthermore, Dr Gale explained that there is a growing belief that the natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia, citing 3 recent studies that showed the benefits of a vegetarian diet for men.

A study published this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adopting a plant-based diet may reduce a man’s risk of dying from prostate cancer by 19 %, and that same study linked this diet to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

In October 2021, another study, published in the Urology journal, found that including more plants in the diet lowered the chances of higher levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), linked to prostate cancer.

Therefore, doctors recommend that every man above 45-50 undergo screening for this antigen annually.

A third study, published in “Nutrients” journal last November, showed that diets that focus on consuming more plants and fish and less red meat, help keep prostates enlargement under control.

Dr Gale said that adopting a “greener” diet has multiple health benefits in addition to promoting prostate health, including reduced risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive problems such as constipation and colon cancer, and excessive weight gain.

However, Gale explained that this does not mean that eating meat and other animal-based products directly causes prostate problems, but rather indicates a possible link between the two.

Major evidence points to the existence of a link between meat consumption and prostate cancer, particularly processed and red meat.

Despite the many known benefits, milk consumption has been linked as well to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

However, while evidence regarding animal products and their link to prostate health deserves attention, it remains inconclusive, according to Dr Gale, who said other dietary factors should be taken into account as well.

“High-sugar diets can cause infections that may lead to the rapid enlargement of the prostate, so it is recommended to limit the intake of carbohydrates, which the body converts into sugar”, explained Dr Gale.

Furthermore, Gale recommended promoting the health of the prostate, by considering a low-sugar diet, reducing carbohydrate intake, and focusing on the consumption of good, clean and healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to nuts and whole grains.

Recommended dietary changes for promoting prostate health

Dr Gale cautioned against making drastic changes in the diet, such as following a completely green diet or following a highly restrictive diet without consulting a healthcare professional.

“There are essential nutrients that a person needs in his diet to maintain his health, and restricting the diet too much may end up causing problems due to the lack of nutrients”, said Dr Gale.

However, he explained that there are simple dietary changes a man can make right away to benefit his prostate and his overall health.

 Dr Gale suggests minimizing the consumption of the following:

• Sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks, juice or tea.

• Fast foods, such as potato chips.

• Fried foods.

• Red meat.

• Smoked meats.

• Processed meat.

• Excessive dairy products.

“You should start making small changes first rather than radical ones”, he said.

“One should think about eliminating foods that he knows are not good for his health, thereby helping boost the prostate and overall health”, he explained.

References: Cleveland Clinic

Al Jundi

Please use portrait mode to get the best view.