It doesn’t matter how many articles, reviews, or studies you’ve read, there’s just no outrunning the fact that the age old advice to diet and exercise is what every single fad/trend boils down to in the end. Regular exercise is vital to maintaining both physical and mental health, but real quality of life relies on a healthful and nutritious diet, especially when it comes to the prostate. Luckily, most of us know the right foods to eat when we are trying to get healthy and keep ourselves in good working order; but while some foods may appear to healthy on the surface, by actually delving into their composition and even packaging, we can see clearly that they are actually doing us no favors at all.
Here’s a little list of ten of those foods that should be avoided in order to keep the prostate and ourselves healthy.
1) Non-Grass Fed Red Meat
It goes all the way back to 1997… The American Institute of Cancer Research had drawn a link between the consumption of industrially produced red meats like beef, lamb, and pork and an increased chance of the development of prostate cancer. These findings followed up earlier studies in the early 1990’s by Harvard University, which continually tested tens of thousands of subjects over a number of years. Today, current studies show that men who consume large amounts of non-grass fed red meat are 12% more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who consumed more moderate servings as part of a controlled diet.
Cattle produced for the mass market are fed foods like corn, soybeans, and grains in order to increase their size and the profit made per head, which is harmful as they have not evolved to digest these foods properly. Grass fed meat has had none of these additives or the nefarious hormones and steroids that are routinely given to animals also.
2) Non-organic White Meat
While it might seem simpler to cut red meats like those above out of your diet and focus on healthier white meats like chicken and fish, the fact is that those foods, if bought without proper care, are just as harmful to the prostate and health overall as industrially produced red meat. Chicken raised on battery farms and force fed turkeys are the more commonly held up examples of how the white meat that reaches our dishes is often tainted with highly questionable methods of farming and preparation. In many cases, these animals are administered hormones and steroids in their feed to make larger cuts; while in other cases animals are fed foods which they have not evolved to ingest, causing their bodies to react by producing chemicals to fight off perceived toxins. Avoid these additives and unknown chemicals by always buying naturally produced meat.
3) Dairy and Calcium
A 2001 Harvard University study found that men who consumed above average amounts of calcium in their diets had a 32% higher chance of developing prostate cancer. These findings have since been backed by the American Cancer Society, which has documented a link between a high dairy intake and the development of the disease in men over the age of 40. Many dairy products from cows, like milk, butter, and cheese, contain a number of biochemicals that encourage cancer. Also, the high level of animal fat encourages a high level of oestrogens to be found in men as they age. These oestrogens are very harmful since they encourage testosterone to be converted to dihydrotestosterone, which is very irritating for the prostate and is at the root of all prostate disease. These dairy products should therefore be avoided altogether. On the ketogenic diet , you can replace dairy cows products with goat products. Goats milk, cream, yoghurt, cheese (especially hard cheese) have a much higher proportion of protein and do not contain the same harmful biochemicals.
4) Canned Foods
Although they are very handy and easily stored for later use, canned foods are decidedly not good for your prostate. This is because many of them contain a synthetic estrogen called Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in the construction of polycarbonate containers like tin cans and even water bottles. Though investigations into the connections between BPA and a wide variety of diseases are ongoing, the European Union and Canada have already banned it in the making of baby bottles. Foods like tomatoes are particularly susceptible to BPA, as it can soak into their soft tissues while in storage.
5) Non-organic Vegetables
While low carbohydrate vegetables are great as part of a planned ketogenic diet, for good prostate health, we should ensure that everything we consume is organic and untreated. The wisdom of this approach is obvious when we look at the amount of contact that non-organic vegetables have with chemicals before they reach our plate. For instance, the very soil that vegetables are grown in is invariably treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and after absorbing all of these toxins, vegetables are treated and sprayed again on shipment, in order to protect them from predators and stop them from sprouting naturally. The thought of all of those sprays alone is bad enough without imagining the effect that they could have on our internal system, so going organic is the only real choice.
6) Baked and Deep Fried Foods/Saturated Fats
Many of the foods that are traditionally prepared in these manners would not form part of a healthy Paleo / Ketogenic diet, but it is worth exploring just why they are so bad for us. Asparagine, an amino acid, is contained in many of the foods that we deep fry, such as potatoes, and when these foods are either fried or baked to a temperature in and around 250 degrees, the asparagine is converted into acrylamide, a substance that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled a “probable” cause of cancer in humans. Apart from the obvious health drawbacks due to the level of sodium, fat, and cholesterol, this should serve notice that these fried foods are to be left alone indefinitely.
7) Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar has not been proven to be a direct cause of cancer of the prostate or otherwise, but there are very strong arguments for leaving it out of your diet. The link between excessive consumption of sugar and the onset of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes has long been established, and the health problems that these conditions cause can be ruinous for the individual involved. Additionally, in 2009, the Huntsman Cancer Institute (University of Utah) released findings that illustrated how cancerous tumour cells use sugar in much greater quantities that normal cells. The findings seemed to confirm that extra sugar and sweeteners (which make use of numerous artificial and chemical ingredients) were best left alone for the maintenance of robust health.
8) Farmed Fish
Like non-organic meats, farmed fish are also subjected to a string of treatments designed to preserve the product for longer, to make it look better, and above all, to keep suppliers’ costs down. Unfortunately, all of this means that the consumer is losing out when it comes to eating a healthy foodstuff. The fishmeal that many of these farmed fish are fed is high in contaminants, and the crowded environment of their pens means that any contagion is not long in spreading. At the same time, the companies running these “farms” think nothing of dosing the fish with antibiotics in order to ward off the diseases caused by their own avaricious methods. Coupled with the fact that farmed fish are lower in the vital Vitamin D and Omega 3 that we buy them for, organic wild fish like tuna and salmon is once again infinitely preferable for our health.
The health benefits of a good red wine are well known, but alcohol intake should be limited in order to maintain prostate health. A 2009 study of 10,000 subjects found that men who drank more than a moderate amount (more than 4 drinks a day on 5 or more days a week) doubled their chances of developing advanced prostate cancer, particularly if the alcohol in question was beer. Details were not given as to whether there was a link between beer cans and BPA (see above).
10) PFOA (Found in Microwavable Popcorn Bags)
Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is another substance that is depressingly common in our everyday lives and of which the vast majority of people know little to nothing about. PFOA has been confirmed to be a carcinogen in animals, though the evidence for it causing cancer in people has not been incontrovertibly proven yet. PFOA has been detected in an incredibly wide ranging number of everyday products, from stain resistant carpets to Teflon, and worryingly, it has also been detected in open water supplies in the US. It’s estimated that somewhere in the region of 98% of Americans have PFOA in their systems. One of the more innocuous and avoidable contacts that people have with PFOA is in its use in the composition of microwave popcorn bags (the heat of the microwave facilitates its transfer into the food product). As of 2015, moves are under way to limit and eventually curtail the use of PFOA, but for the moment microwave popcorn is best left on the shelf.