A new study has revealed that eating a vegan diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence in prostate cancer survivors. 

The study, titled “Plant-based diet associated with better quality of life in prostate cancer survivors”, was published in the journal Cancer, and it was authored by researchers from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Treatment for prostate cancer can cause erectile dysfunction, but researchers found that an animal-free diet can help improve this side effect. Scientists concluded this after analysing the health outcomes of 3,500 men who had prostate cancer. In addition, treatment for prostate cancer can trigger urinary incontinence, which has also been found to be improved by replacing meat and dairy with grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables. 

Dr Stacy Loeb, the first author of this study said, “Our findings offer hope for those looking for ways to improve their quality of life after undergoing surgery, radiation, and other common therapies for prostate cancer, which can cause significant side effects. Adding more fruits and vegetables to their diet, while reducing meat and dairy, is a simple step that patients can take. These results add to the long list of health and environmental benefits of eating more plants and fewer animal products. They also clearly challenge the historical misconception that eating meat boosts sexual function in men, when in fact the opposite seems to be the case.”

On the other side, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stated that a 2023 study has detected nitrosamines, cancer-causing chemicals, in various animal-based foods, which could pose a health risk to consumers. The ten nitrosamines detected, which are carcinogenic but also can damage DNA, have been detected mostly in cured meat, processed fish, cocoa, beer and other alcoholic drinks. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.