Taking measures to keep your prostate healthy is very important for warding off disease and chronic conditions, particularly as you get older. Prostate cancer, prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) and prostatitis are three common maladies that affect men of all ages, particularly those in their 60s or older.
No matter how old you are, the wellbeing of your prostate should always be a concern. While these conditions usually affect older men, you can start taking measures to help prevent them at a much younger age. A significant factor that influences prostate health is diet and nutrition. A healthy, balanced diet may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, slow the progression of conditions such as BPH, and reduce the severity of infections like prostatitis.
Here are 5 diet tips to keep your prostate healthy!
Fruits and vegetables are the number one source of anticancer and anti-inflammatory nutrients and substances like vitamins, polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals and fibre. These are very effective for reducing the risk, progression and severity of prostate cancer and BPH.
Some of the best fruits and vegetables for prostate health include:
• Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, bok choy)
• Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, lettuce, rocket)
• Bell peppers
• Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)
Studies have linked red meat, such as pork, lamb and beef, and processed meats like lunch meat, hot dogs and bacon, with prostate cancer (as well as a range of other cancers and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease). Therefore, intake of these should be limited.
The healthier choice is oily, fatty fish such as salmon and trout. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which differ from the saturated fats found in red and processed meat. Studies have suggested that the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 served to reduce the growth and progression of prostate cancer and BPH.
Another suggests that eating fish rich in omega-3 at least once a week may reduce a man’s risk of developing advanced prostate cancer, even if they are at higher risk due to genetics.
Most healthcare professionals recommend eating fish rich in omega-3 twice a week. Varieties include:
• Fresh Atlantic or Australian salmon
Multiple studies have found that men who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer and BPH.
One, in particular, found that obesity (as a result of a high-fat diet) is “associated with numerous hormonal changes, many of which have been implicated in prostate cancer development and progression” with “data strongly suggest[ing] that obesity is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer death.”
Another study also noted a strong relationship between obesity and BPH development, which suggested a link between the reduced testosterone levels seen in obese men and prostate enlargement. In addition, the same study noted that the increased levels of estrogen in obese men was also a risk factor for BPH, as is increased insulin levels.
Another suggests that a lack of exercise, poor diet, and poor lifestyle – all risk factors for obesity – can weaken the immune system and increase inflammatory agents in the body, further contributing to prostate enlargement and cancer.
The takeaway? Skip the takeaway food! Exercise regularly (at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week). Make better lifestyle choices. Eat better. And work towards reducing the risk of prostate disease.
If you are trying to cut down on animal proteins like pork, beef and lamb, but are struggling to find these important nutrients elsewhere, look to plant-based options.
Soy-based protein like tofu is an excellent option for your prostate. A study published in 1998 suggested that genistein, an isoflavone found in soy products like tofu, decreases BPH and prostate cancer tissue growth. Another more recent study showed that soy isoflavones have some beneficial effects on BPH symptoms in the lower urinary tract.
Aside from tofu, soy products that you should consider integrating into your diet include soy milk, tempeh, edamame, cooked or roasted soybeans and soy yoghurt.
Legumes are another plant-based protein that is great for your prostate health. They are high in protein but are also packed with fibre – which is great for digestion and may help promote a healthy prostate – and other nutrients.
Try replacing your classic meat and two veg dinner with a salad chock-full of lentils and chickpeas. Or replace the beef or chicken in your burrito with cooked black beans.
This one couldn’t be easier. Next time you go grocery shopping, rather than choosing a loaf of white bread or packet of white rice, go for the whole grain alternative. As their name suggests, whole grain products are made from the entire grain of cereal, including the endosperm, germ, and bran, whereas refined grains use only the endosperm. As a result, whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fibre, manganese, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B-6.
Whole grain products are great for your overall wellbeing, and this includes your prostate. Studies suggest that there are several ways fibre may lower the risk of prostate cancer, including diluting potential carcinogens and promoting healthful bacteria growth, reducing inflammation and insulin resistance, and promoting a healthy weight.
Choose whole-grain bread over white bread, brown rice over white rice, whole grain pasta over the usual white affair. They taste very similar and are much, much better for you!
If you have any questions about prostate health, prostate cancer or BPH, or would like to book an appointment, you’re in the right place.
Dr Arianayagam is a very experienced urologist and has extensive experience in dealing with all prostate conditions. If you would like to book an appointment, please get in touch today.
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