Prostate Health: High Fat Diet – What are the Risks?

  • 08 Jan 2020
We are all aware that a high-fat diet is unhealthy for our body in general but do you know what are the effects that it can have on your prostate? We ask our urologist Dr Ho Siew Hong​ and Principal Dietitian Ms Mah Wai Yee on the possible risks and dietary shifts you can make to ensure a healthy prostate.

How is High Fat Diet linked to Prostate Cancer
“High fat diet may have impact on prostate cancer from two points. Some studies have shown that a high fat diet increases the risk of more aggressive and advanced prostate cancer. Another impact is the increase in risks of complications and death from coronary artery disease as many patients with prostate cancer have concurrent coronary artery conditions,” shared Dr Ho.

“Men who are overweight are at a 8% higher risk of getting prostate cancer as compared to a normal-BMI individual, but obesity and severe obesity further increases their risks by 20% and 34% respectively,” added Ms Mah. According to the Singapore Cancer Society, a higher fat intake is associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer and its progression. Obese men are also found to develop more aggressive prostate cancers and experience poorer treatment outcomes, which is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer deaths.

Healthy Diet for a Healthy Prostate
If steaks, bacons, burgers, pizzas and food high in animal and saturated fat are part of your daily staples, it is never too late for a dietary intervention. “A general healthful diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and is lower in fat and focusing on Omega-3 fatty acids can keep the prostate healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation while fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds contains vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and other healthful nutrients that promotes health and reduces cancer risk including prostate cancer,” advised Ms Mah.

Dr Ho further suggests incorporating foods rich in lycopene such as cooked tomatoes, watermelons, guavas and papayas into your diet. “Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and spinach may have some role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Similarly, pomegranate juice has also shown potential in slowing down the progression of prostate cancer, while soya bean and legumes may offer some protective properties against this common disease. They are also a good source of protein,” Dr Ho adds.

Will Supplements Help?
Getting nutrients through consuming nourishing meals rather than from supplements is generally recommended. “Supplements are only necessary if an individual has difficulty consuming enough nutrients from their regular diet, such as when they have a food allergy that prevents them from consuming a particular group of food which may decrease intake of certain nutrients,” explains Ms Mah.

If you wish to consume calcium, avoid exceeding the recommended daily allowance of 1500mg. Contrary to popular belief that high intakes of vitamins A, D, & E, selenium and folate can aid in reducing prostate cancer risks, excessive consumption can be detrimental and may increase your risk of prostate cancer instead.

Reducing Your Risk of Prostate Cancer Progression
It is vital to be aware of your dietary pattern and physical activity. Both Dr Ho and Ms Mah emphasises that maintaining an ideal weight through healthy diet and regular exercise helps the body to handle any potential side effects from the treatment of prostate cancer and lowers the risk of dying from the disease.

Do seek clinical advice from your doctor or dietitian to personalise specific interventions for yourself to decrease the likelihood of progression to a lethal disease. Especially for men with early-stage prostate cancer, simple healthier lifestyle changes like eliminating high saturated fat food will help to diminish or delay the risk of disease progression.​ 

Contributed by

Dr Ho Siew Hong
CAH Specialists @ Farrer
Farrer Park Hospital