Patients Prostate cancer
Diet for patients with prostate cancer
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There is some evidence that certain foods may help slow down the growth of prostate cancer or reduce the chance of it coming back after treatment. Below, we describe some of the foods that might be helpful for men with prostate cancer. But the evidence is very limited at the moment. We need more research before we can say for certain whether any single food can help slow down the growth of prostate cancer.
Soy and other pulses
Some studies suggest that chemicals in soybeans may help to slow down the growth of prostate cancer and prevent the cancer from coming back after treatment (recurrent prostate cancer). But other studies haven’t been able to confirm this and we still need more research into the possible benefits of soy.
If you do decide to eat more soy, you could try soy products such as soybeans, soy milk, tofu, soy yoghurts, soy bread, miso and tempeh. Try to avoid soy products with added salt and sugar.
Some evidence suggests that chemicals in green tea might protect against prostate cancer growth and advanced prostate cancer. But we can’t be certain about the effects of green tea, as some other studies haven’t seen the same benefits.
Green tea needs to be brewed for five minutes to ensure plenty of nutrients are released, making the flavour quite strong. You might want to choose a decaffeinated variety, as caffeine can irritate the bladder. This may be particularly important if treatment for your prostate cancer has caused urinary problems.
Tomatoes and lycopene
Some studies have suggested that eating tomatoes may protect against prostate cancer growth and aggressive prostate cancer. This may be because of a plant chemical in tomatoes, called lycopene. But experts recently looked at all of the studies on lycopene and only found limited evidence of any benefit for men with prostate cancer. This means we can’t be certain whether lycopene is helpful for these men.
Cooked and processed tomatoes, such as tomato sauces, soups, purees and pastes, are a better source of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. This is because the body absorbs lycopene more easily from tomatoes that have been cooked or processed, particularly with a little oil. Try to choose low salt and low sugar options as some products, such as ketchup, may have added salt and sugar.
Lycopene is also found in watermelons, pink grapefruits, guava and papaya. As lycopene isn’t stored inside the body for very long, it may be useful to eat foods containing lycopene regularly.
You may need to avoid grapefruit if you take certain medicines, including some drugs to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, drugs to treat erection problems, and warfarin to thin your blood. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, spinach and kale. Some studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables may help slow down the growth of prostate cancer and reduce the risk of advanced prostate cancer. But other studies haven’t found this, so we need more research into the effects of cruciferous vegetables.
Some research suggests that pomegranate juice may be good for men with prostate cancer. But we don’t yet know if this is the case.
One small study looked at the effect of pomegranate juice in men whose prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels had started to rise after surgery or radiotherapy. Drinking one glass of concentrated pomegranate juice every day led to a slower increase in the men’s PSA levels.
However, another small study found that pomegranate juice had no effect on PSA levels in men with advanced prostate cancer.
If you want to try pomegranate, choose a variety with no added sugar. You may need to avoid pomegranate if you use certain prescription drugs. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
What about you?
Are you taking care of what you eat? Has your doctor advised you any of these foods?
Also think turmeric (with black pepper to help absorption) and brazil nuts help in some studies.
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