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Is there an optimal diet to prevent and fight prostate cancer?

Men with prostate cancer often want to know they personally can do to help with their fight against prostate cancer.  Eating the right foods is definitely a good start! But what are the right foods? Is there a certain diet that can help fight the cancer and even help increase the chances of cure? 

Depending on who you ask you may get a completely different answer.  The traditional school of thought has been that dairy, meat, and saturated fats are bad and can cause prostate cancer, so stopping them should be the first step.  I myself used to eat a vegetarian diet for many years, so I happily promoted a plant based diet. In fact, on my own website in the early 2000’s I wrote “What should you eat? Vegetables, beans, whole fruit, whole grains, lean protein, and some nuts, seeds, and their oils”.  However since that time I have done a complete reversal, and I would say my beliefs now are in alignment with a lower carb paleolithic diet which emphasizes vegetables, naturally raised meat and natural fats, and avoids grains, beans, and sugars.   

I am troubled by the fact that I used to tell patients one thing, but now I believe something else entirely. It makes me very cautious about recommending any diet to my patients.  Politics, Religion, and Diet are three topics which have fervent believers on different sides who will not be easily swayed. There is a real divide out there in the public and healthcare community, with most people taught that a vegetarian diet is the healthiest way to live, but with a growing minority of health care professionals like myself who have come to believe that a lower carb diet is healthier. 

The traditional plant-based low-fat diet to fight prostate cancer

The Mediterranean Diet is the classic diet to fight prostate cancer, and there are multiple related diets with minor variations which go by different names:

  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • The Ornish Diet
  • The Flexitarian Diet
  • The Asian Diet
  • The Nordic Diet
  • The Engine 2 Diet
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

These diets all have similar principles:

What to Eat
  1. Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat. Whole wheat bread is also acceptable.
  2. Beans.
  3. Lots of vegetables, especially colorful vegetables, aiming for at least 5 servings per day.
  4. Whole fruit.
  5. Fish and some lean meat like poultry.
  6. Nuts and seeds
  7. Olive oil as your principle oil
  8. A little red wine (one 5oz serving a days for women, or two servings for men) is allowed
What to Avoid
  1. Avoid red meat, or limit to no more than 3 ounces per day
  2. Avoid processed / fatty meats such as bacon, salami, hot dogs, canned meat, etc.
  3. Avoid refined processed grains like white wheat (white bread)
  4. Avoid sugar (regular soda, candy, cake, donuts, cookies)
  5. Avoid fried foods ( french fries, fried chicken, etc)
  6. Avoid processed foods