Prostate health has become a matter of great concern to men in this day and age. Nutrition has a direct correlation with prostate health. Before the food was altered in the 20th century, prostate problems were not of great concern and prostate cancer was a rare occurrence. This has changed as we started to process, refine, add chemicals, apply pesticides and destroy the American diet. Fast foods, junk foods, sugar, and trans fats that are now the mainstay of our diets and affect the prostate immensely. The lifestyle, environmental toxins, and diet currently popular, have changed the face of prostate health. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, eliminating stress, and creating a baseline of test scores overtime will go a long way to protect your prostate health and prevent prostate cancer. When a man tests for PSA and receives the DRE test yearly he can see overtime if there is a marked change in his prostate health. This can prevent many unnecessary procedures that can in the long run do more harm than good. So let’s take a closer look at ways to protect your prostate.
As I said before the Standard American Diet (SAD) has a lot to do with prostate problems. Unfortunately the SAD devoid of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids (EFA), fresh fruits and vegetables, and full of fried foods, sugar, processed foods and chemicals can undermine a man’s prostate health. EFA’s are needed to balance the “bad fats” in the diet. Vitamins and minerals are needed to produce healthy hormone balance that is key to prostate health. By eating a diet of fresh whole foods, with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans), nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, and healthy fats a man can take control of his prostate health. This diet will provide the EFA’s, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and enzymes needed to keep your body healthy. By avoiding junk food, fast food, processed food, sugar and added chemicals your body can actually heal itself when necessary. Hormonal output is affected by nutrition and changes in diet can support the prostate by reestablishing hormonal balance. By adopting a diet of organic foods (especially meat and dairy), and eating 50% of your vegetables raw, you will receive the nutrients that you need without unhealthy poisons to undermine your health.
There are many herbal remedies that can have a positive effect on prostate health. I will tell you about three here.
- SAW PALMETTO– this herb comes from a small palm tree that grows along the Atlantic coast from South Carolina to Florida. The extract from its berries has long been used as a treatment for urinary tract problems by Native Americans, and is proven to be an effective treatment for prostate enlargement. This herb helps to keep the hormone balance in the same way current medications do. Saw Palmetto can block the formation of DHT (dihyydrotestosterone), and the uptake of DHT by prostate cells. As men age testosterone decreases and DHT increases. DHT is a by-product of testosterone. DHT is associated with prostate enlargement and male pattern baldness. Saw palmetto is safe and has no known side effects. Not only is it safe and highly effective it can be used for about one third the cost of conventional medicines.
- AFRICAN PYGEUM- this plant substance is derived from the bark of a tree. The African plum evergreen tree extract is used extensively in Europe and now in America to treat prostate disorders, however not to treat prostate cancer. It has three key ingredients, two that reduce inflammation and one that lowers cholesterol (a factor in prostate enlargement). African Pygeum has no significant side effects and appears to relieve the symptoms of prostate dysfunction.
- STINGING NETTLES– most people have heard of stinging nettle and do not realize that it contains important nutrients not just a painful skin irritant. Nettle extracts have iron, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, chlorophyll and vitamins A and C. Stinging nettle works as a diuretic that stimulates the flow of urine and as an anti-inflammatory, and is also considered safe.
Many nutrients are key to prostate health. Most nutrients can be found in foods, however some nutrients may need to be supplemented to receive therapeutic doses. Some of the nutrients beneficial to prostate health are: B-vitamins, antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E, the minerals selenium and zinc, lycopene, pycnencol and grape seed extract), and essential fatty acids (EFA’s). One caution I would like to include is that men should not take too much calcium. High amounts of calcium in men increases the risk of developing more aggressive advanced types of prostate cancer.
Last but not least I want to suggest some foods that are beneficial to the prostate gland, and prostate health in general.
Healthy fats- nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, and fish all provide healthy fats to balance hormones. Pumpkin seeds have EFA’s and zinc.
Vegetables- all vegetables especially the dark colored vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and fiber, the more you eat the better. Base your diet around vegetables. Maitake mushrooms have shown particular success in treating prostate cancer, as they enhance the immune system.
Fruit- citrus fruits contain vitamin C, berries are high in antioxidants, tomatoes, (actually a fruit) contain lycopene.
Oysters- have a high amount of zinc.
Soy- edamame, miso, tempeh and tofu are all soy products that contain protein, calcium. They reduce inflammation and contain genistein, which is shown to protect against prostate cancer. Soy helps with hormone balance also. Soy is a very controversial subject, and needs to be considered on an individual basis. It can be beneficial in regards to BPH and prostate cancer for some men. It is very important what kinds of soy you eat and that it is organic if chosen for treatment. Fermented, organic soy is always preferable.
Whole grains- quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice contain fiber, vitamins and minerals and help to curb appetite and reduce blood sugar levels.
Green tea- has long been known for its antioxidant effects.
Being proactive about your prostate health can be quite beneficial as one ages, and as in everything, exercise, reduction of stress and a healthy diet are your best defense and offense.
Submitted by Tricia @ Nutrition by Tricia