Here’s the truth: 80%1 of men will have cancer cells in their prostate by the time they reach 80 years old. It’s the second most common cancer in men. 1 man in every 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, and 1 out of every 39 will die from it.2
Those numbers are frightening, yes, but it’s never too late to start protecting your health. Protection for your prostate can start right in your kitchen. Certain foods can help keep your prostate healthy, and may even work toward killing prostate cancer cells off before they can do any more damage.
- Broccoli. This cruciferous vegetable might be the perfect prostate food. According to a study published in the journal Cancer, broccoli suppresses the growth of cancer cells. Researchers have also linked eating broccoli once a week (or more) to a lower risk of developing stage III and stage IV prostate cancer by 45%.
- Green tea. Study after study has linked green tea—or the antioxidant EGCG in green tea—to lower rates of prostate cancer. While all antioxidants are good for your prostate, EGCG targets your prostate, keeping it healthy by reducing the markers that indicate cancer. More than that, it can minimize the impact of precancerous lesions, as well, so you’re less likely to go from precancerous to cancerous. Aim for 3 cups of green a day, for best results.
- Legumes. Fiber is vital to prostate health, and the fiber in beans makes them an excellent protein source. 1 cup of black beans has 15 g of fiber, along with 15 g of protein. So you can swap out 1 serving of meat for beans every week and protect your prostate, without losing any of your protein.
- Pomegranate. Granted, they’re not the easiest fruit to eat, but they’re good enough for your prostate that it’s worth the hassle. Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and a nutrient called ellagitannin. This antioxidant-nutrient one-two punch has been shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells specifically. Still think pomegranates are too difficult to deal with? You can get pomegranate supplements for all the benefits with none of the hassle.
- Spicy peppers. You may know that the capsaicin in spicy peppers may help you live longer, but did you know it can also help keep your prostate healthy? It’s just another way to help you live a long, happy life! The capsaicin—the chemical that gives a spicy pepper its heat—helps kill off prostate cancer cells. Best of all, it does so without harming the healthy cells around the cancerous ones.
- Watermelon—or tomatoes! It’s not the food that protects your prostate. It’s the lycopene in the food. Many bright red fruits and vegetables are going to be excellent sources of the nutrient. Since it only takes 10 mg of lycopene to help keep your prostate healthy, it’s worth stocking up.
No matter your age, it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your prostate. Do it for yourself, and the people who care about you.