Not only do 50% of men over the age of fifty face prostate health issues, but approximately 120 out of every 100,000 men in the US will be diagnosed with life-threatening prostate cancer. As with all chronic diseases, the best way to fight prostate complications is with proper nutrition.
Food for Thought: Diet plays an important role in prostate health, as obesity has been directly linked to prostate cancer. The following foods will not only protect your prostate, but improve the conditions of your heart, lungs, and general health.
Eat your veggies!
You may have stuck your nose up to Brussels sprouts as a child, but as an adult, it’s time to be wise about fruits and veggies. Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, fruits and vegetables fight cancer naturally. Of course, you’ll want to stick to organic options, as the nasty pesticides in typical produce are known for their cancer-causing properties. If you want to go organic on a budget, only buy organic when you plan on eating the skin. For example, go organic with berries and tomatoes, and stick to the less expensive alternatives for bananas and mangos. Top prostate protectors include cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and, you guessed it, Brussels sprouts) and lycopene-packed tomatoes.
Who said carbs were bad for you?
Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta, keep insulin levels at bay. Not only do high insulin levels from processed carbs and sugars lead to energy crashes throughout the day, but can also be long term contributors to prostate enlargement. To make sure you’re sticking to healthy carbohydrates, a general rule of thumb is to avoid anything white (white bread, white rice, white pasta), packaged, or sugar-loaded. When buying whole wheat bread, make sure the first ingredient says 100% whole wheat and has no mention of “enriched,” “unbleached,” or “bleached,” ingredients.
They call it chuck steak for a reason
Chuck it! While red meat has already been shunned by doctors for its artery-clogging compounds, it is now proven to be equally harmful for prostate health. Unfortunately for all you steak grillers, charring red meat over an open flame releases heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to prostate cancer. If you’re worried about protein, in addition to fish (which contains prostate cancer fighting omega-3s) and poultry, you have many healthy plant-protein options, including quinoa, lentils, and beans. Hummus anyone?
Moooooo-ve over dairy
The Physicians Health Study recently concluded that men who consume 2.5 dairy servings per day are at greater risk for prostate cancer than those who consume less than .5. To fulfill those creamy cravings, try replacing your usual dairy choices with soy options. Not only are soy milk, soy cheese, and tofu nutritious and delicious, but their contents of isoflavones (which are also found in chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and peanuts) are linked to reduced prostate cancer risks.
Of course, diet is just one step in your fight against prostate cancer and prostate complications. Getting regular exercise, scheduling routine prostate exams, and taking time for your emotional health are all critical for prostate care and overall well being. Eat right, take care of your body, and enjoy a long and happy life!
Author Byline: Lynn Maleh has a Masters in Writing from University of Southern California. She regularly contributes guest blog posts on a variety of topics, including health and lifestyle. She wrote this post on behalf of Prosvent.