Ask the Nutritionist
Q: My 75 year old father-in-law just had prostate surgery. What should he be eating to heal as quickly as possible?
A: In order to heal quickly after surgery, we recommend patients eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to take advantage of natural "cancer fighting" antioxidants. The different colors of plant foods generally correlate to different types of helpful compounds, so a variety of colors is important too.
With respect to prostate cancer specifically, recent research has shown that a few foods may be particularly helpful with survivorship and healing. Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, and kale) have been found to be protective against cancer growth and help the body detoxify. Tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, which have shown similar benefits to cruciferous vegetables. Other healing foods include selenium-rich nuts and seafood (Brazil nuts, oysters, etc.), which promote the function of the body's natural antioxidant system. Green tea is a beverage that is high in a uniquely powerful antioxidant, EGCG.
We also recommend that meat is not cooked at very high temperatures (such as grilling). Men who eat the highest amount of red meat cooked this way had an almost 40% higher risk of prostate cancer compared to people who ate significantly less. Although your father-in-law has already had his surgery, avoiding charred meat can aid in survivorship and optimal health going forward.
Protein intake is important initially out of surgery to promote healing, along with lots of fruits and veggies. We suggest lean protein foods like fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, nut butters, beans, hummus, eggs, and lentils.