Tips for Prostate Health
Kenneth Essig, MD discusses the AUA and USPSTF recommendations for prostate cancer screenings.
Though it’s only the size of a walnut, the prostate can cause all sorts of problems when it’s not functioning like it should. Let’s look at some of the ways you can keep your prostate healthy.
If you’re significantly overweight, you could be hurting your prostate. Obesity is linked to greater risk of dying from prostate cancer, having more aggressive cancer and recurrences of prostate cancer. Regular exercise can help you shed those excess pounds and even prevent erectile dysfunction.
Chronic stress is another common problem for men. Constant worry and high-pressure situations can lead men to clench their pelvic muscles without realizing it, which can cause chronic prostatitis. Look for ways to de-stress when you can.
Eating for prostate health
A plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, plant proteins and fiber can significantly reduce your risk of prostate disease, including cancer. In contrast, a high-fat diet full of red meat and other animal products (though delicious!) has been shown time and again to contribute to prostate cancer. In addition, certain foods, and some individual nutrients, are extra good for prostate health.
Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants, and studies show that it can help prevent prostate cancer, or slow the growth of aggressive prostate cancer that’s already there. It’s also free of caffeine, which can irritate the prostate and cause urinary pain.
Orange and yellow fruits and veggies contain antioxidants called carotenoids (like beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and others). The best are watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, apricots, guava and tomatoes, especially canned or cooked tomato products, rather than raw.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower have cancer-fighting properties that protect cells from damage, prevent cancer from spreading, and even induce a process called apoptosis—leading cancer cells to kill themselves!
Opt for healthy fats like those found in avocado, olives and nuts, and oily fish like sardines and mackerel, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Extra vitamin D, which comes from sunlight, dairy products, eggs, salmon and tuna, may reduce risk of many types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Like anything else, moderation is key. Try to incorporate more plants into your diet, along with some of the healthy foods listed above, and you’ll be better off. Unless your doctor recommends it, there’s no reason to worry about a complete overhaul of your eating habits.