"Red or processed meat and fatty meats might increase prostate health risk," said Delmer A. Montoya, M.D., a medical oncologist with Arizona Oncology in Tucson. "[But] we need more research to better understand their effect on prostate cancer."
High levels of trans and saturated fats and high sodium, both of which contribute to poor prostate health, can be found in red meats, processed meats and fatty meats. Recent research published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that consuming high amounts of processed meat might be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
However, as Montoya pointed out, more research is necessary to determine the exact causes and links between meat consumption and prostate problems.
4. Sugary foods and drinks
Patel recommended avoiding drinks with added sugar, especially fizzy drinks, and looking at the sugar content in fruit juices. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that a higher intake of sugary beverages is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, though the same association was not found with fruit juice or desserts.
However, additional research shows that the higher your sugar intake, the higher your serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels may be. Checking serum PSA levels is a screening tool for prostate cancer that detects the possibility of the disease when it's most treatable (although other conditions may lead to increased PSA levels, too).
Dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt, kefir and cheese, are packed with nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and protein. They all contribute substantially to overall health. In fact, dairy foods often provide much of the calcium and magnesium many people consume.
Some research, though, points to dairy—at least the full-fat kind—as a potential contributor to compromised prostate health. It's one of the foods that should be consumed in moderation to help keep prostate complications at bay.
Dairy has been linked to prostate inflammation in some individuals, according to Anika Ackerman, M.D., a urologist with Garden State Urology in New Jersey. Some research has shown whole milk to be particularly associated with fatal forms of prostate cancer.
It's worth noting the research is contradictory, as other studies suggest no link between dairy consumption and prostate cancer risk. Speak to your doctor to find out what's best for you.
6. Spicy foods
This one may be hard to swallow for those hot sauce lovers out there.
"Spicy foods like hot peppers and chilis can irritate the bladder and prostate, especially in men with a history of prostatitis," Ackerman said.
She added that spicy foods could exacerbate prostate inflammation and worsen symptoms, including burning during urination. If you find spicy foods aggravate your prostate symptoms, it's likely best to avoid them.
However, if spicy foods aren't an issue for you, enjoy capsaicin-containing products as much as you wish. These foods, including hot peppers, may offer a protective effect against prostate cancer.
Moderation is the key
In most cases, only a few foods need to be considered strictly off-limits. Consuming a varied diet is the goal. An easy rule of thumb is that a heart-healthy diet is a prostate-friendly diet.
"We need more research to better understand their effect on prostate cancer, but the recommendation at this time is to choose a low-fat diet, increase the amount of fruits and vegetables, and reduce the amount of dairy products," Montoya said.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are also recommended as means to improve general health and reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other issues.
The first step toward keeping your prostate healthy is a consultation with a healthcare professional, and video visits have become a viable option for most people. Visit Giddy telehealth to get connected.