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What's the Best Diet for Prostate Cancer?

Couple cooking with healthy vegetables

The importance of maintaining a nutrient-rich diet for overall health is well established, but did you know that eating certain foods (and avoiding others) can significantly impact prostate health? Some research indicates that a vegetable-rich diet may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in the future, help improve the outlook for men living with this disease and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.

Foods to enjoy

While diet alone cannot cure or eliminate the risk of any cancer, proactively eating more vegetables, whole grains and plant-based foods has shown to positively influence prostate health and aid the overall cancer treatment process. The Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) diet—which was observed in a key study on this topic—consists of:

  • Two servings daily of cruciferous vegetables. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, bok choy, turnips and cauliflower are rich in isothiocyanates that may help prevent cancer growth.  
  • Two servings daily of tomatoes. Tomatoes and tomato-based products contain the antioxidant lycopene, which may help protect against prostate cancer. Antioxidants assist in ridding the body of free radicals (unstable atoms) that disrupt healthy cell function.
  • One or two servings daily of whole grains. This can include fiber-rich oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and barley.
  • One or more servings daily of legumes or beans. Low-fat and protein-packed legumes and beans include chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, carob and peanuts. 
  • One or more servings daily of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables. This important group of antioxidants is found in high amounts in oranges, cantaloupes, carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy vegetables.

Foods to limit or avoid

What you exclude from your diet is just as important as what you include. Per day, the MEAL diet allows for no more than:

  • Two ounces of processed meats  
  • Two to three ounces of red meat  
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Two egg yolks
  • One cup of whole milk

Reducing or eliminating the following items from your diet can also promote prostate health and reduce cancer risk:

  • Sugary sodas and juices
  • Foods with added sugars
  • Processed foods
  • White flour
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco products

Key Observations

Studies show that maintaining a diet high in vegetables and low in animal fats may impede tumor growth. However, medical treatment is still vital to treating and curing prostate cancer. Another factor that influences prostate health is obesity, which is linked to more negative prostate cancer outcomes. Following the principles of the MEAL diet, cutting back on sugar, and engaging in regular exercise can result in weight loss as well as improved prostate health.

Moffitt’s approach to prostate cancer  

Nutritional guidance from experienced dietitians is just one component of prostate cancer care at Moffitt Cancer Center. The multispecialty team in our Urologic Oncology Program provides a full spectrum of supportive care and specialized clinical treatment in one location, eliminating the need for patients to travel to multiple clinics for the services they need. Our prostate cancer treatment team collaborates to develop individualized plans for each patient, then refines plans as necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes and improved quality of life.  

If you would like to consult with a Moffitt oncologist about your prostate cancer treatment options or receive a second opinion, call 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online. Our team prioritizes prompt response times and will contact you within 24 hours. We also offer comprehensive prostate cancer screening services—contact Moffitt for more information.