Is a vegan diet good for prostate health? – Cleveland Clinic

The key to better prostate health could be better nutrition.

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Ongoing research suggests that your prostate could benefit if you adopt a plant-based diet. It seems that piling more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes on your plate could lower your risk of Prostate canceras well as other issues below.

Want to know more ? Let’s review meal plan options with the urologist next. Brad Gill, MD, MS.

What is a vegan diet?

A plant-based diet is pretty much what you would expect from the name. Basically, if the food comes from a plant, you should consider it an ideal option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.

Of course, this excludes foods from an animal – a list that includes beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Someone on a vegan diet follows this plant-based diet 100%. However, it is more common for people to simply switch certain food choices to plant-based products while continuing to occasionally enjoy a hamburger or other animal-based products.

How can a vegan diet help the prostate?

Eating more plant-based foods isn’t just good for your prostate, which is part of the male reproductive system. Research shows that going a little greener in your diet also provides a full spectrum of health benefits, reducing your risk of:

“Clearly, plant-based diets have many benefits in various areas of health,” says Dr. Gill. “The prostate health benefit is a little less clear, but research continues to show a possible link between lower prostate cancer risk and avoiding certain animal foods.”

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in fruits and vegetables are increasingly believed to work to minimize your risk of prostate cancer and enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).

Studies continue to show that eating healthier pays off for your prostate. Highlights of recent research include the following:

  • Adopting more of a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of dying from prostate cancer by 19%. (The same study also links the same eating habits to a lower risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.)
  • More plant-based foods in your diet decreases your chances to have high levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). (Higher PSA levels can signal prostate cancer, so PSA testing is recommended starting at age 45 to 50, depending on your individual risk.)
  • Eating habits that focus on more plant-based foods and fish (and less red meat) seem to help control prostate enlargement. (Diet may also play a “beneficial role in erectile function.”)

Learn more about foods that may support prostate health.

Do animal foods cause prostate problems?

“Cause” may be too strong a word, but research suggests a link between eating animal foods and prostate problems, Dr. Gill notes.

The main evidence suggests a relationship between meat consumption and prostate cancer — and more particularly charcuterie, deli meats and red meats. Milk consumption was also linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer (although it is known to provide other health benefits).

Yet most studies and reviews conclude that while the evidence regarding animal-source foods and prostate health deserves attention, it’s still inconclusive, says Dr. Gill.

Sugar and prostate enlargement

High-sugar diets can cause inflammation that can lead to rapid prostate enlargement, says Dr. Gill. It is also best to limit your carbohydrate intake. (Your body naturally breaks down carbs into sugar.)

“If you’re mindful of your prostate, consider eating a low-sugar diet, minimizing carbs, and sticking to good, clean, healthy foods — fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and whole grains” , explains Dr. Gill.

Changing your diet for prostate health

Dr. Gill cautions against making drastic dietary changes — like going entirely vegan or adopting a very restrictive or “fad” diet — without talking to a healthcare provider.

“If you start considering a very restrictive diet, get it done by your doctor or a dietitian first,” he advises. “There are essential nutrients that you need in your diet to maintain good health. If you reduce your diet too much, you could end up with other health problems because of these deficiencies.

But there are simple dietary changes you can make immediately to benefit your prostate and overall health. Dr. Gill suggests limiting things like:

  • Sweet sodas, juices, teas or beverages.
  • Junk food like potato chips.
  • Fried food.
  • Red meats.
  • Smoked meats.
  • Processed or salted meats.
  • Too many dairy products.

“Maybe start with the mindset of making small changes instead of embarking on a drastic overhaul,” he says. “Think about eliminating the things we know for sure are not good for us to eat. It can help your prostate and more.