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10 Foods for a Healthy Prostate
One in six North American men will develop prostate cancer. A nutrient-rich, low-fat diet can play a vital role in preventing cancer from developing in this important gland.
Prostate cancer is the most common form in men, which is why the American and Canadian Cancer societies urge all men over 40 to undergo annual or biannual screening, starting with a digital rectal examination.
Prostate cancer, if treated in an early stage, is highly curable. In many cases, however, it may have spread to other organs by the time of diagnosis. For this reason doctors recommend that men aged 50 and over get the A blood test to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a possible cancer indicator. If detected early enough, prostate cancer has a high rate of recovery.
Health researchers and scientists have found that diet plays a crucial role in maintaining prostate health and may help ward off cancer. Here are the top 10 foods they recommend:
- Vegetables from the cruciferous family—broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower—contain isothiocyanates, which are phytochemicals that appear to be protective. These foods also offer the added benefits of antioxidants.
- Fish and vegetable oils high in omega-3 fats seem to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- Vitamin E is known to reduce prostate inflammation and may protect against cancer. Good sources include margarine, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, wheat germ and whole grains.
- Whole grains offer fibre, selenium, vitamin E and phytochemicals, all of which play a role in the prevention of cancer.
- Bump up the lycopene. A study of nearly 48,000 men found that this substance, found in such foods as tomatoes, tomato products, red grapefruits and watermelons appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Cooking appears to release more of the lycopene in tomatoes; so tomato-based pasta sauces and soups may be especially beneficial. Lycopene is fat soluble so is better absorbed when eaten with a little fat.
- Selenium is another mineral that may offer protection. This antioxidant is found in nuts—especially Brazil nuts—seafood, some meats, fish, wheat bran, wheat germ, oats and brown rice.
- Soy products can help prevent prostate enlargement and may slow tumour growth. This effect is attributed to isoflavones, plant chemicals that help lower dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone that stimulates the overgrowth of prostate tissue.
- Cut back on red meat. It is high in saturated animal fats and has been linked to an increased incidence of prostate problems. Excessive weight has also been linked to prostate troubles and cutting back on red meat can help you lose weight.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Anyone with an enlarged prostate should drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids to flush the bladder. Caffeine and beer should be reduced to a minimum.
- Avoid spicy foods as well as alcohol, caffeine and other substances that irritate the urinary tract.
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