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Healthy Foods to Eat if You Have Prostate Cancer

By August McLaughlin

Prostate cancer occurs when cancerous cells develop in your prostate gland. Most prostate tumors grow gradually without causing harm for decades, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. When diagnosed early, over 90 percent of cases can be successfully treated. While a healthy diet won't cure the disease, it may strengthen your immune system, help prevent or manage complications and improve your quality of life.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are prime sources of antioxidants -- nutrients that neutralize harmful molecules that may cause permanent damage in your body and lead to cancer. While all antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables provide benefits, diets rich in the antioxidant lycopene, prevalent in tomatoes, haver lower instances of prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Institute. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks for the broadest dietary benefits. Other varieties particularly high in antioxidants include berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, guava, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers and winter squash. Fruit smoothies and vegetable soups provide useful options if your appetite is reduced due to cancer treatment.

Starches

Starches, such as potatoes, breads, cereals and pasta, provide glucose -- your body's main dietary source of energy. If your doctor recommends a low-fiber diet after surgery or to manage diarrhea or other side effects of cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society suggests white breads, french toast, waffles and rice, pretzels, plain enriched pasta and well-cooked instant rice cereal as useful options. Otherwise whole grains provide more protein, micronutrients and fiber. Nutritious whole grain foods include whole grain breads and crackers, wild rice, brown rice, steel-cut oatmeal, pearled barley, whole wheat pasta and air-popped popcorn.

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Nuts, Seeds and Vegetable Oils

Nuts, seeds and vegetables provide heart-healthy, unsaturated fat and helpful nutrients, including the antioxidant vitamin E. Though research is limited, vitamin E may help block the development of prostate cancer cells, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Rich sources of vitamin E include almonds, wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, safflower oil and hazelnuts. The National Cancer Institute also suggests nuts as useful ways to increase your calorie intake and nuts and seeds as fiber-rich foods for treating constipation linked with cancer treatment. Try snacking on mixed nuts or sunflower seeds, topping crackers with peanut or almond butter and grilling bread atop olive or canola oil for added flavor and calories.

Meat, Eggs and Fish

Meat, eggs and fish are some of the richest food sources of protein that promote tissue repair, immune system function and physical strength important for recovery. The National Cancer Institute describes tender beef, broiled or baked, skinless chicken and turkey, eggs and poached or broiled fish as "easy on the stomach" foods, particularly useful during bouts of nausea and/or vomiting. Cold-water fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring, lake trout, flounder, sardines, halibut and mackerel, provide the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids -- essential fats that may help ease inflammation. Since high-fat meat and egg yolks are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, choose lean meats and egg whites more often.

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