How many times have you asked, “what should I eat for prostate health?” expecting to get a list of foods that can prevent illness?
The answer might surprise you.
That list doesn’t exist, per se.
The notion that food is medicine is certainly popular, but it’s not necessarily truthful. Food is not medicine. It can, however, be a tool that might reduce the risk of illness and promote health.
So, a specific list of foods to improve prostate health simply isn’t available.
Instead, there are eating patterns that are associated with a healthy prostate. There is no solid proof, however, that they will work.
But that doesn’t mean they should be discounted.
The reason we have to say “associated” instead of “proven” has to do with testing. It’s nearly impossible to conduct a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study – the gold standard – on individual foods for prostate health.
It’s hard to get a group of people to agree, for example, only to eat broccoli for the next six months. Instead, researchers collect data on people’s general eating habits – called epidemiological observational studies – to see if certain patterns are associated with better prostate health.
If you’re looking for certain foods to help protect your prostate, it’s wise to change your approach. Instead, look to adopt an overall eating pattern that may promote a healthier prostate.
Here are some tips:
- Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Choose ones with bright, deep colors. Mashed potatoes five times per day won’t cut it.
- Swap refined “white” bread, pasta, flour, etc. for whole-grain options.
- Cut back on red meat like beef, pork, goat, and lamb. Instead, opt for leaner protein sources like skinless poultry, eggs, beans, and fish. Avoid processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats.
- Include healthful fats as snacks. Unsalted, non-candied nuts are a great option. Using olive oil in salads and drizzled on meals or eating avocado can all offer healthy fats. Conversely, limit trans and saturated fats in processed, packaged, and fast food.
- Don’t drink sugary beverages like soda or fruit juices. Save sugary treats for special occasions.
- Cut back on salt by limiting processed foods.
- Pay attention to portion sizes. Eat slowly, chew and enjoy food, and wait to see if you are really full before going in for more.
So, that might not be a list of prostate health foods that you want, but those food swaps may make a difference. Further, they are likely to offer more overall health benefits.