This month marks Everyman Male Cancer Awareness month, which sheds light on male cancers, the most common of which in the UK is prostate cancer. In recent years, more and more research has been devoted to the link between diet and prostate cancer and reducing its likelihood with dietary changes.
Every year in the UK, 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, resulting in one fatality every hour. What we do currently know about the condition is that men are more likely to get it if they are over the age of 60, have a family history of prostate cancer or are of African decent. Furthermore, Asian men are less likely than Western men to develop this cancer form but those who have migrated to Western countries are found to develop the same risk as those who have been there their entire lives.
What this suggests is that there are in fact some fixed factors which increase the risk of prostate cancer, so much so that the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is continuing research into the link between lifestyle factors and prostate cancer. However, until these finding have concluded and been published, based on the current consensus science, the following tips can play a role in protection against most types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Here, we take a look at the diet and lifestyle changes you can make in order to reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight through the principle of keeping active and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Moderately exercising for just 30 minutes a day is recommended. If your busy lifestyle doesn’t permit this, try shorter sessions throughout the day. Aim for a healthy BMI of between 18.5 and 25. Not sure what your BMI currently is? Check out this handy calculator on our website here.
- When it comes to your diet, one which is varied and balanced containing the right proportions from the five food groups is essential. Use the above plate as a guide on your daily food intake. As a good indicator, at each mealtime, fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables, a quarter with protein and a quarter with starchy carbohydrates. Up your water intake to the recommended 6 – 8 glasses of fluid per day, one of which can be a small serving of fruit juice. Limit sugar-laden drinks to special occasions only.
- Ensure your diet is rich in whole grain food options, aiming for the recommended 3 portions of 16g wholegrain products per day. As a guide, one portion = x2 heaped tbsp brown rice, or x1 medium slice wholemeal bread or x3 tbsp wholegrain rice, or 1/2 a wholemeal pita bread.
- Ensure your daily intake of fruit and veg is high, striving for 7 portions per day. This is the equivalent of 1 medium apple, 3 dates, half a grapefruit, 2 small tangerines, 1/3 aubergine, 3 heaped tbsp carrots or 1 heaped tbsp tomato puree or a handful of mangetout.
- Limit your trans fat intake, keeping within the recommended guidance for 70g of fat and keep processed saturated fat low. Small tips to help with this include, for example, trimming fat from meat, cooking with healthier fats such as olive oil and upping your intake of nuts, seeds and avocados as healthier fat options.
- Reduce your sugar intake but keep below the recommended 30g per day with simple steps such as cutting down on sugary treats including cakes, biscuits and snack foods, limit your intake of fruit juice and fizzy soda, replacing with water or low sugar squash varieties and halve the amount of sugar consumed in tea, coffee, cereal, cooking and baking where possible. These simple steps will go a long way in preserving your future health and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your palate gets used to it.
- Be aware of hidden salt and keep to 6g per day. Swap the addition of salt while cooking for herbs and spices. These are a fab alternative and there are so many tasty choices out there, so get experimental and creative when cooking. Ditch the processed meals which are high in salt, instead aiming to cook simple meals from raw ingredients. It’s amazing how quickly a healthy and tasty meal can be prepared. Check out, for example, our Incredible Hulk Cannelloi recipe here.
- Finally, get up to speed on food labelling systems in order to choose foods that are low in fats (<3p per 100g fat, <1.5 saturated fat per 100g), sugar (<5g per 100g) and salt (<0.3g per 100g).
Information checked & correct on 16th May 2018.