Before PSA Test: Foods and Things to Avoid for Accurate Results

You have probably heard about PSA if you’re over 40 or starting to worry about your prostate health.

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is one of the most critical blood markers of prostate gland problems. 

It is helpful to screen benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. 

However, your PSA levels can also be raised by foods and other activities, which you want to avoid before your test so you don’t skew your results.

Keep reading to learn things to avoid prior to PSA test, foods that can raise PSA, and other PSA test preparation tips.

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10 food and drinks to avoid that can raise your PSA level

1. Wheat bread

Bread dietary intake may increase your PSA level in the very short term. A study performed on patients with prostate cancer divided them into three groups.

One of them consumed wheat bread. The other two consumed soy and linseed-based bread. The wheat bread group had an increase of PSA by 16.4%, while the others had a reduction of 15.5%. 

In other words, if you are consuming bread, clinical trials recommend avoiding wheat bread and looking for healthy wheat bread alternatives.

2. Red meat

A review and meta-analysis evaluated a total of 11 prospective studies about the association between red meat and prostate cancer

In the long term, it appears that red meat increases the risk of this disease. The link may not be direct as people with prostate cancer who consume too much red meat could have other risk factors, too. 

In any case, if you’re trying to avoid high PSA levels in the future, it might be a good idea to reduce your weekly red meat intake.

3. Processed meat

A similar study was performed five years later, including 26 publications from 19 cohort studies. Processed meats received a weak positive summary estimate. 

If you don’t want to avoid all types of red meat, you should at least reduce your dietary intake of processed meat. This is probably the worst type you can consume for your prostate.

4. Convenience foods

These are ready-to-eat foods preserved with different chemicals to maintain their taste for a long time. Such preparation is often not very healthy and usually contains trans fat. 

Studies show that trans fats increase inflammation and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Inflammation has a direct effect on PSA levels but also an indirect impact by promoting cancer cells.

5. Dairy foods and drinks

Doctors often recommend reducing dairy intake in prostate cancer patients. This food could sometimes trigger advanced prostate cancer, thus increasing PSA levels. 

Reducing dairy food intake is particularly important if you were already diagnosed with this disease. Both low-fat and high-fat dairy may increase cancer-specific and all-cause mortality in prostate cancer patients.

6. Alcohol

Both alcohol and tobacco consumption increase PSA levels in men and affect their prostate health. They are a suitable example of how inflammation increases this serum marker. 

A significant PSA rise was reported in patients with prostate tumors in a study. Thus, if you have any prostate problems, we recommend staying away from these harmful habits.

7. Fried foods

The Western lifestyle and eating patterns may increase your risk of prostate cancer and your PSA levels. 

One example is the consumption of deep-fried foods. They are common in a Western diet and can lead to advanced prostate cancer if you are diagnosed in the future.

8. Vegetable oil

One of the reasons fried foods cause prostate problems is that they are prepared with vegetable oil. The name vegetable oil sounds healthy, but it is not. 

This type of oil contains many types of fat, including saturated fats, that may increase the inflammatory markers and trigger the cascade towards prostate cancer and high serum PSA levels.

9. Baked goods

Processed foods such as pie crusts, cakes, cookies, and crackers often contain a high load of trans fats. As noted above, these fats are probably the worst type you can consume. 

They are associated with a higher chance of prostate tumors. Thus, they increase your PSA levels in the long run.

10. Sugar-sweetened beverages

Another way to protect your prostate is by reducing your intake of soft drinks and other sources of refined sugars. A study found that men with a high dietary intake of sugars have a higher prostate cancer risk. 

Should you avoid sex before a PSA test?

Yes, it is recommended to abstain from sex and masturbation 48 hours before a PSA test. This is because ejaculation slightly increases your PSA levels.

Does exercise affect your PSA level?

Yes, vigorous exercise can affect your PSA test as it can cause a temporary spike in your PSA levels.

How long to avoid exercise before PSA test? Don’t exercise for 48 hours beforehand.

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Other things to avoid prior to a PSA test

Before your test, your doctor will likely give you a few recommendations on what not to do before a PSA blood test and how to prepare for the PSA test. 

They are meant to obtain accurate results because certain factors can modulate PSA levels.

So, let us briefly review what can skew a PSA test and what you can do to get precise results.

Remember that the PSA test is not a specific test for prostate cancer. As such, it can be higher than usual in prostatitis and BPH.

Anything that increases the prostate size may also increase your PSA levels. But other factors should be considered, too:

Specific medications

Certain medications may modulate the rate of PSA produced by the prostate. Some of them are prescribed for BPH, as in finasteride.

In this case, finasteride reduces PSA levels. As good as this may appear, it sometimes hides high-grade cancer.

Thus, your urologist may need to double your current PSA levels if you’re under this medication.

RELATED: What Medications Can Increase PSA Levels?

Pressure upon the prostate gland

Any type of pressure upon the prostate gland may increase serum PSA levels. For example, riding a bike for a long time or having a digital prostate examination.

Urinary infections

If you have a urinary tract infection, this can skew your PSA levels.

Thus, it is sometimes recommended to run a urine test along with the PSA test to rule out infections.

Similar to prostatitis, they cause inflammation and make the prostate release more PSA to the blood.

If you know you have a UTI and you have an upcoming PSA test, talk to your healthcare provider, as you may need to rearrange the test.


PSA testing is a fundamental tool in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer. However, there’s still much debate on how to use it more appropriately.

Various factors affect PSA production and release to the blood, either directly or indirectly.

Thus, it is recommended to interpret the results based on a baseline level and follow the recommendations from your doctor about what things to avoid prior to a PSA test in order to obtain an accurate reading.

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  1. Dalais, F. S., Meliala, A., Wattanapenpaiboon, N., Frydenberg, M., Suter, D. A., Thomson, W. K., & Wahlqvist, M. L. (2004). Effects of a diet rich in phytoestrogens on prostate-specific antigen and sex hormones in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Urology, 64(3), 510-515.  ​ 
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  7. Stott Miller, M., Neuhouser, M. L., & Stanford, J. L. (2013). Consumption of deep fried foods and risk of prostate cancer. The prostate, 73(9), 960-969. 
  8. Chavarro, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Campos, H., Kurth, T., Willett, W. C., & Ma, J. (2008). A prospective study of trans-fatty acid levels in blood and risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 17(1), 95-101. ​​ 
  9. Miles, F. L., Neuhouser, M. L., & Zhang, Z. F. (2018). Concentrated sugars and incidence of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort. British Journal of Nutrition, 120(6), 703-710. 
  10. Shirazi, M., Ariafar, A., Zeyghami, S., Hosseini, M. M., & Khezri, A. A. (2014). Association of diet with prostate specific antigen and prostate volume. Nephro-urology monthly, 6(4).

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