It’s not enough to know the best foods you should eat to promote prostate health, you should also know which foods are the worst so you can avoid them. Some of the foods on this list may surprise you, but all of them are best to cross off your menu if you want to support prostate health.
1. Red and Processed Meat
Eating a lot of red and processed meats is unhealthy for several reasons, one of which is it may increase your risk of prostate cancer. Studies show that men who ate the most red meat were 12 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer and 33 percent more likely to have advanced cancer than those who ate the least amount of red meat.
2. Nonorganic Meat
Nonorganic meat encompasses the majority of the meat available on the market, including beef, pork, lamb, veal, and poultry raised using conventional methods that involve the use of hormones, antibiotics, and steroids, as well as animals being fed food they were not meant to eat. Cattle, for example, evolved to eat grass, but they are fed corn, soybeans, and other grains because it fattens them up faster for slaughter. When you do include meat in your diet, make it organic so you can avoid the additives that can have a negative impact on both prostate and overall health.
3. Calcium and Dairy Foods
Dairy foods are the most common source of calcium in the United States, and this is a source of concern for two reasons. One, the American Cancer Society notes there is evidence that high intake of calcium, mostly through supplements and dairy foods, has been linked with a greater risk of prostate cancer, especially aggressive cancer. Two, many dairy foods are high in fat and cholesterol, and may also contain hormones, all of which can have a negative impact on prostate health.
4. Canned Tomatoes and Tomato Products
Although it is true tomatoes and tomato products support and promote prostate health, especially because of their high lycopene content, you should avoid tomato foods packaged in cans. The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that can leach into the tomatoes because they are acidic. BPA is associated with an increased risk of cancer and other health problems.
5. Microwave Popcorn
Popcorn is a good source of fiber, but avoid microwave popcorn. The lining of the bags in which microwave popcorn is popped contains chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that may be associated with infertility in humans. The chemicals have also been linked to cancer in lab animals. Because PFOA accumulates in the body, scientists worry that the chemical may reach a cancer-causing level in people who are exposed to it for too long. The makers of PFOA have promised to stop producing the chemical by 2015.
6. Nonorganic Potatoes
Potatoes can be a very good nonfat, high-fiber food choice, but beware: they are exposed to several doses of poisons. Potatoes absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides from the soil, they are treated with fungicides while they are growing, the vines are sprayed with herbicides before harvest, and then once the potatoes are dug up, they are treated again to prevent them from sprouting. You cannot wash away the chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh of the potato. The only safe solution is to buy organic potatoes.
7. French Fries and Potato Chips
French fries and potato chips are two popular foods in the United States, and also among the most unhealthy. One reason is that deep fried potatoes and potato chips are laden with saturated fat and salt. Two, potatoes contain an amino acid called asparagine, which when heated to more than 248 degrees Fahrenheit (as in frying and baking) can form acrylamide, a substance determined to be a “probable human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based on studies in lab animals. (Fuhr 2006) French fries and potato chips are not the only foods that contain acrylamide, but they are the most common and have high levels. Baked goods, especially doughnuts, also have relatively high levels of acrylamide.
8. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners—aspartame, cyclamate, neotame, saccharin, or sucralose—can be found in a wide variety of processed foods, many of which are promoted as diet and/or diabetic foods. These artificial sweeteners have been associated with cancer in animals and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
9. Farmed Salmon
Farmed salmon are crammed into pens, fed soy and fishmeal (which is high in contaminants), dosed with antibiotics, and colored with artificial dyes to make them pink. The result is fish that are lower in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, and higher in contaminants (e.g., PCBs, brominated flame retardants, dioxin, DDT) than wild salmon. Farmed salmon is not the only farmed fish that should be avoided, because the way they are raised is similar for other types of fish as well.
Sugar may taste good, but that’s where the “good” part ends. Along with the empty calories sugar contributes to the diet, it is also believed by many experts to fuel cancer cell growth, among them Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, former vice president of Nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. In 2009, scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah discovered part of the process by which cancer cells utilize more sugar (glucose) than normal cells. (Kaadige 2009) If you want something sweet, choose fruit, nature’s natural sugar.