You may have heard of certain foods or dietary supplements that might help slow the growth of prostate cancer or lower the risk of it coming back after treatment. Or that some foods could be harmful for men with prostate cancer.
This page has information on some of these foods. But there isn't strong evidence for any of them, as different studies have had different results. This means we can’t say for sure whether any of these foods are likely to be helpful or harmful if you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Many men want to know if any foods, or a particular diet, can help or even cure prostate cancer. But until there’s more evidence that any individual food has an effect, it’s best to have a balanced diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables and a wide range of other healthy foods.
Can any foods help with my prostate cancer?
You may have heard that certain foods might help slow down the growth of prostate cancer or lower the chance of it coming back after treatment, including:
- soya beans and other pulses
- green tea
- tomatoes and lycopene (a plant chemical found in tomatoes)
- cruciferous vegetables (for example, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
With all of these foods, there is some evidence to suggest they might be helpful for men with prostate cancer, but other studies haven’t shown any effect. This means we can’t say for sure whether any of these foods can help. Until there’s more evidence that any individual food has an effect on prostate cancer, it’s best to have a balanced diet that contains all of the food groups.
Are there any foods I should eat less of?
You may have heard that eating a lot of certain foods may be harmful for men with prostate cancer, including:
- dairy foods and calcium
- red or processed meat
- fatty foods.
With all of these foods, some studies have suggested they might be harmful for men with prostate cancer, but other studies haven’t found a link. This means we can’t say for sure whether eating less of these foods can help.
There’s no need to cut these foods out of your diet completely. We need more research to fully understand their effect on prostate cancer, but you can still eat most of these foods in moderate amounts as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends avoiding processed meat, as it can increase your risk of some other types of cancer.
Should I use supplements or herbal remedies?
Some people like to use dietary supplements or herbal remedies, but there’s little evidence they’re helpful for men with prostate cancer. Some may even be harmful.
There’s little evidence that supplements are helpful for men with prostate cancer. Some supplements may interfere with your treatment for prostate cancer, so let your doctor or nurse know if you’re taking any.
Most people should be able to get all the nutrients they need by eating a balanced diet, without taking supplements. If you do choose to take supplements, don’t take more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for each nutrient because large doses could be bad for your health.
Some men may need to take specific supplements. For example,
- Vitamin D. Between October and March, try to take 10 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D supplements every day. This is because during these months, there is not enough sunlight in the UK for your body to produce enough vitamin D.
- Calcium. If you’re on hormone therapy, your doctor might recommend calcium supplements.
Some men like to take herbal medicines to help manage their prostate cancer or the side effects of treatment. For example, some men drink sage tea to help with hot flushes. But there is very little evidence that herbal remedies can help to treat prostate cancer or reduce side effects.
Be very careful when buying herbal remedies over the internet. Many are made outside the UK and may not be high quality. Many companies make claims that are not based on proper research. There may be no real evidence that their products work and some may even be harmful. Remember that even if a product is ‘natural’, this doesn’t mean it is safe. For more information about using herbal remedies safely, visit www.mhra.gov.uk
It’s important to tell your doctor about any complementary therapies you are using, including herbal remedies. Some herbal remedies may interfere with your cancer treatment and some may affect your prostate specific antigen (PSA) level, making the PSA test unreliable.
Herbal supplements being tested
Recently researchers have been looking at supplements containing a number of things such as pomegranate, green tea, broccoli, turmeric, soya and lycopene, to see whether they have an effect on prostate cancer.
There have been mixed results, with some studies suggesting they may be helpful and others suggesting they don’t help. These studies have all been small and run for a short time, so we need larger studies lasting for several years to find out whether any supplements actually help.
Last updated: March 2022
To be reviewed: March 2025
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