A new BMC Medicine review details a variety of foods, nutrients, and diets that may hold promise for reducing the incidence or progression of prostate cancer (PCa).

Current evidence is still largely inconclusive, according to investigators Pao-Hwa Lin, MD, William Aronson, MD, and Stephen J. Freedland, MD. The literature indicates that excess saturated fat and beta-carotene increase PCa risk. The following eating patterns, nutrients, and foods, however, show potential: low carbohydrate intake, soy protein, omega-3 fatty acids, green teas, tomatoes and tomato products, and zyflamend (an anti-inflammatory herb mixture). Studies on folate, vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium suggest a U-shape relationship in which optimal ranges and upper limits exist for each vitamin or mineral. 

While the ideal diet prescription has yet to be determined, the investigators suggest counseling men with these tips, in line with emerging research and a heart healthy diet:

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  • Increase fruits and vegetables.
  • Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains.
  • Reduce total and saturated fat intake.
  • Avoid overcooked meats (such as charred barbecue).
  • Consume fewer calories (by reducing carbohydrates, for example) to achieve a healthy body weight. 

The investigators also recommend future studies should be designed to address these key questions in PCa care:

Can a dietary invention…

  • delay the need for prostate cancer treatment for men on active surveillance?
  • prevent recurrence?
  • delay progression among men with recurrence?
  • reduce the side effects of prostate cancer treatment (especially hormonal therapy)?
  • improve outcomes for men on hormonal therapy to prevent or treat castrate-resistant disease?


  1. Lin, PH, et al. BMC Medicine (2015)13:3; doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0234-y.