Best Foods for a Healthy Prostate

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that most men don’t give much thought to – until they get older. The walnut-sized gland continues to grow throughout a man’s life, but especially later in life, as reproductive hormone levels shift. Because the prostate gland is positioned just below the bladder, this growth can cause some annoying and uncomfortable problems with urination.

 

For this reason and more, taking care of your prostate health is important, especially as you age. One way to do this is by eating a prostate-healthy diet with foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other natural compounds that support prostate health.

While there is no “silver bullet” in terms of preventing prostate issues and everyone’s situation is unique, research suggests that certain foods may play a role in maintaining a healthy prostate. With that in mind, here are some of the best foods for a healthy prostate.

Tomatoes

The bright colors in fruits and vegetables aren’t just for show. Those pigments come from carotenoids – antioxidant compounds that help protect fruits and veggies from environmental stress. They also work similarly in our bodies, protecting our cells against oxidative stress from free radicals.

Plant Polyphenols: Nature's Anti-Aging Secret

Tomatoes get their rich red color from a carotenoid called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is particularly beneficial to the prostate gland. In a comprehensive review of antioxidants that help protect prostate health, lycopene topped the list.3 

Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene and also contain other beneficial antioxidants, like vitamin C and selenium. A number of clinical reviews have linked a lycopene-rich diet,5 or a diet high in tomatoes,6 with helping to maintain prostate health Cooking or pureeing the tomatoes helps to release the lycopene and make it more bioavailable.

Lycopene is also better absorbed when combined with a healthy fat, such as olive oil. Why not saute those tomatoes in olive oil with some garlic and onions and make a nice pasta sauce? As an extra bonus, garlic and onions also contain protective phytochemicals for a healthy prostate. A regular spaghetti night may be in order.

Broccoli

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale are packed with beneficial nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that support your prostate and overall health. Broccoli is particularly high in a compound called sulforaphane, which supports the body’s antioxidant defenses and detox processes, helps support a healthy inflammation response, and may help support functioning of healthy prostate cells.8,9 

Sulforaphane levels are highest in raw veggies. While some people like eating raw broccoli, others find it difficult to digest. Lightly steaming the broccoli and then blending it into a soup may help make it easier to digest while retaining those active phytonutrients. You can also try eating broccoli sprouts, which are much easier to eat raw.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which support healthy inflammation levels. They are also a good source of nutrients such as natural vitamin E, zinc, and selenium, which are associated with promoting immune health and reproductive health, including prostate health. Zinc seems to be particularly important for the prostate, including supporting proper prostate function and size.12,13

Why You Need Zinc at Every Age

A recent global population study showed that eating more nuts and seeds was correlated with healthy prostate markers.14 Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and Brazil nuts are all good choices for prostate health.

5 Healthy Seeds You Should Be Eating

Legumes

Beans, lentils, and soy products contain phytoestrogens – active plant compounds that can influence hormones by mimicking estrogen in the body. Phytoestrogens also have antioxidant activity.15 Several clinical reviews have found a correlation between eating more foods that contain phytoestrogens, such as legumes and soy, and a prostate health benefit.16,17,18 

Beans and soy are great sources of plant-based protein and very versatile, making them easy to incorporate into your diet. You can easily find soy-based meat and dairy swaps that can help you transition to a more plant-based diet.19

Avocados

Avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants which help support a healthy inflammation response.20 The antioxidants in avocados include natural vitamin E and a variety of carotenoids, including high amounts of lutein.21 The healthy fats in the avocado help boost the absorption of the fat-soluble carotenoids.

Avocados are also a rich source of beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol that’s been found to be helpful in supporting prostate and urinary health. 22,23 Some of the best-known herbs for prostate health, including saw palmetto and Pygeum, also contain beta sitosterol. 

Avocado makes a great addition to almost any dish. You can add it to burgers, sandwiches, salads, and bowls, mix up some guacamole, or simply enjoy it on toast.

Be Smart about Prostate Health

Healthy lifestyle choices, including a healthy diet, can make a big difference in maintaining your prostate health. Still, there’s no sure way to prevent prostate health problems. It’s important to keep up with your regular doctor checkups, especially after age 50.

Recommended Health Screenings for Men in Their 50s

Looking for plant-based support for prostate health and urinary function? Our Prostate & Urinary Health supplement combines some of the best researched botanical ingredients for a healthy prostate, including saw palmetto, Pygeum, beta-sitosterol, turmeric, broccoli, and lycopene.

References:

1. Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)”. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2.  Magee, Elaine. “What You Need to Know About Diet and Prostate Cancer.” WebMD

3. Vance, Terrence M et al. “Dietary antioxidants and prostate cancer: a review.” Nutrition and cancer vol. 65,6 (2013): 793-801. doi:10.1080/01635581.2013.806672

4.  Schwarz S, Obermüller-Jevic UC, Hellmis E, Koch W, Jacobi G, Biesalski HK. Lycopene inhibits disease progression in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia. J Nutr. 2008 Jan;138(1):49-53. doi: 10.1093/jn/138.1.49. PMID: 18156403.

5. Chen, Ping et al. “Lycopene and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Medicine vol. 94,33 (2015): e1260. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000001260

6. Chen J, Song Y, Zhang L. Lycopene/tomato consumption and the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(3):213-23. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.59.213. PMID: 23883692.

7. Hsing AW, Chokkalingam AP, Gao YT, Madigan MP, Deng J, Gridley G, Fraumeni JF Jr. Allium vegetables and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Nov 6;94(21):1648-51. doi: 10.1093/jnci/94.21.1648. PMID: 12419792.

8. Clarke JD, Dashwood RH, Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):291-304. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.04.018. Epub 2008 May 27. PMID: 18504070; PMCID: PMC2579766.

9. Su X, Jiang X, Meng L, Dong X, Shen Y, Xin Y. Anticancer Activity of Sulforaphane: The Epigenetic Mechanisms and the Nrf2 Signaling Pathway. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018 Jun 6;2018:5438179. doi: 10.1155/2018/5438179. PMID: 29977456; PMCID: PMC6011061.

10. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention.” National Cancer Institute.

11. Clarke, J.D., Hsu, A., Yu, Z., Dashwood, R.H. and Ho, E. (2011), Differential effects of sulforaphane on histone deacetylases, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in normal prostate cells versus hyperplastic and cancerous prostate cells. Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 55: 999-1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201000547

12. Sauer, Ann Katrin et al. “Zinc Deficiency in Men Over 50 and Its Implications in Prostate Disorders.” Frontiers in oncology vol. 10 1293. 6 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3389/fonc.2020.01293

13. Galan, Nicole. “Enlarged Prostate diet: Foods to eat and avoid.” Medical News Today, Feb. 2018.

14. Ziouziou I, Touzani AM, Lahlou L, Shariat SF, Sanguedolce F, Neuzillet Y, Ajdi F, Khabbal Y. Association of Prostate Cancer with Nuts, Seeds, Alcohol and Processed Meats: A Worldwide Population-Based Study. Nutr Cancer. 2021;73(11-12):2538-2545. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2020.1841250. Epub 2020 Nov 5. PMID: 33148052.

15. Feng Y, Xia XY, Huang YF. [Effects of phytoestrogens on prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia]. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2007 May;13(5):457-61. Chinese. PMID: 17569267.

16. He, Jinjing et al. “Phytoestrogens and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies.” World journal of surgical oncology vol. 13 231. 31 Jul. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12957-015-0648-9

17. Zhang M, Wang K, Chen L, Yin B, Song Y. Is phytoestrogen intake associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer? A systematic review of epidemiological studies based on 17,546 cases. Andrology. 2016 Jul;4(4):745-56. doi: 10.1111/andr.12196. Epub 2016 Jun 3. PMID: 27260185.

18. Mahmoud, Abeer M et al. “Soy isoflavones and prostate cancer: a review of molecular mechanisms.” The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology vol. 140 (2014): 116-32. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.12.010

19.  “Prostate Cancer: Protect against prostate cancer with a plant-based diet.” Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

20.  Li Z, Wong A, Henning SM, Zhang Y, Jones A, Zerlin A, Thames G, Bowerman S, Tseng CH, Heber D. Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in healthy volunteers. Food Funct. 2013 Feb 26;4(3):384-91. doi: 10.1039/c2fo30226h. PMID: 23196671.

21. Lu QY, Arteaga JR, Zhang Q, Huerta S, Go VL, Heber D. Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jan;16(1):23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2004.08.003. PMID: 15629237.

22.  “Beta-Sitosterol: Uses, Side Effects, and More.” WebMD.

23. Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow C, Lau J. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;1999(2):CD001043. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001043. PMID: 10796740; PMCID: PMC8407049.