Steve Lynch, MD, Urologist from LDS Hospital, explains the four nutrients men need for a healthy prostate. As a general rule, anything that you have heard of that is Heart Healthy is also Prostate Healthy. This includes getting enough exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
A Mediterranean diet is thought to be particularly good for both prostate and heart health. This diet is high in mono and poly unsaturated fats (found in healthy oils), but low in saturated fats (found in animal fat). It allows alcohol in moderation and is high in fiber and low in red meat consumption. It also allows for a wide range of foods, which allows it to be incorporated into a lifestyle change rather than just a fad diet.
Adopting healthy eating habits now can help prevent prostate problems down the road, as foods can strongly influence sex hormones, including testosterone. Some nutrients and vitamins can have a very positive affect on the health of your prostate, while there are some to consume in moderation. Making sure you’re getting the right nutrients as part of a balanced diet can play an important role in the health of your prostate.
Here are four nutrients that can contribute to prostate health:
- Fiber – Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is important to your overall well-being and the health of your prostate. Fiber can aid in weight loss as it provides a sense of fullness, delay fat absorption, and prevent constipation. Additionally, a diet rich in natural fiber obtained from fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains such as whole-grain cereals and breads may reduce cancer risk and reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risks for prostate cancer and cancer progression. One study indicated that men who consumed cold-water fish three to four times per week had a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Findings show that Omega-3 fatty acids may lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, improve cardiovascular health, and have anticancer properties beneficial for prostate health. Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fish–such as salmon, trout, herring and sardines—flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.
- Lycopene – Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant known for having cancer preventative properties. While more research is needed on Lycopene’s affect on prostate cancer, it is generally believed to be beneficial. Good sources of Lycopene include tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, and papaya. In tomatoes, the cooking process releases lycopene from the plant’s cells, increasing your ability to absorb it.
- Vitamin C – Consuming cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels Sprouts that are high in Vitamin C may lower your risk of developing an enlarged prostate. The National Cancer Institute notes that more research is necessary to determine whether or not vitamin C supplements can prevent or fight prostate cancer, but people who eat cruciferous vegetables that are rich in vitamin C tend to have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
The Bottom Line
Adopting a healthy diet and active lifestyle now can go a long way toward the health of your prostate. While more research is needed, eating more vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, while avoiding fattening foods and red meat is encouraged to help take advantage of beneficial nutrients and avoid cancer-promoting factors.
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