Simple steps to reduce prostate risk

The best offense is a good defense -- that's as true in your body as it is in sports.

It's especially true when it comes to fighting cancer, because the best way to beat the disease is to make sure you never get it in the first place.

Unlike sports, you don't need to sign an expensive free agent to improve your own defensive line. All you need to do is make a few changes to your diet and you can not only reduce the overall risk of prostate cancer, but also help make sure you avoid the deadliest forms of the disease.

First, boost your fiber intake. More fiber will slash your risk of the most aggressive form of prostate cancer by as much as 80 percent, according to one new study.

Next, ditch the junky refined carbohydrates most people eat these days and replace them with complex carbs, while eating a sensible amount of protein and fat. These changes will send your risk of prostate cancer plunging by between 60 and 70 percent, according to the study presented at the American Urological Association's annual meeting.

And third, give up milk -- because a second new study finds men who drink milk have not only a higher risk of prostate cancer, but a higher risk of the most aggressive form of the disease.

We weren't designed to drink cow's milk anyway. If you want something healthy, refreshing and milk-like, switch to nut milks instead.

A sensible diet will of course help reduce your risk of obesity and ensure you avoid metabolic syndrome -- or a collection of risk factors that include obesity, elevated blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL (aka "good") cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The more of these risk factors you have, the higher your risk of prostate cancer climbs. If you've got two of them, your risk of a high-grade prostate tumor jumps by 35 percent.

And if you've got three or four, that risk nearly doubles.

Of course, prostate cancer isn't the only risk of metabolic syndrome. If the cancer doesn't scare you, maybe diabetes, heart disease and an early death will -- because metabolic syndrome will increase your risk of all that and more.

It doesn't take much to avoid it all. Just eat a little better, and your defense against disease will improve -- no high-priced free agents necessary.