Prostate specific antigen or 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, this measure is also affected by other elements besides prostate health. For example, you could have a higher PSA level right after having sex.
Thus, this test is mainly performed in patients who already have many risk factors or a cause to suspect prostate problems.
But if PSA levels depend on daily activities such as having sexual intercourse, is there anything we should know about PSA and our diet?
In this article, we answer the question of whether diet can affect your PSA levels. Then, you will have a list of foods to avoid if you want to keep low PSA levels right now and in the upcoming years.
How Diet Can Affect PSA Levels
Many factors can affect your PSA levels. Some of them have an immediate effect. For example, PSA testing will throw higher numbers during active urinary infections. They will also increase if you recently had sexual intercourse, had a prostatic massage, or had a digital rectal exam. That is why you get a few recommendations before a PSA screening.
Other factors are a little bit difficult to measure, such as the body’s inflammatory state. In theory, inflammation triggers a higher PSA level. Thus, if you have signs of systemic inflammation, your PSA level may rise.
This is why the diet is essential, as some foods increase inflammation. This won’t always have an immediate effect on your PSA test but may modulate the fluctuations of this blood marker.
If you’re thinking about the long-term, food is also important to keep your PSA levels in check. Some of them may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Cancer cells, in turn, increase PSA levels in the future. This article will give you a list of 10 foods and drinks to avoid if you want to keep low PSA levels now and in the future.
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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. (1)
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
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 (2).
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 (3).
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 (4).
5. Dairy foods and drinks
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 (5).
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 (6).
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 (7).
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 (8).
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 (9).
Can diet affect PSA levels? As you can see in this article, different foods may change your prostate cancer risk. That is how they increase or decrease your serum PSA levels.
Only a few may lead to short-term changes, and these effects have not been reproduced several times. But they do change prostate cancer progression and lead to an increased risk of an enlarged prostate.
Thus, we recommend living a healthy lifestyle and reducing the consumption of fatty foods, dairy, alcohol, and sweetened beverages. A healthy lifestyle may lower PSA levels. You will also have a lower risk of prostate cancer and many other health problems.