Socrates gave wise advice when he said, “Let food be thy medicine.” Indeed, what men eat can make a positive, or negative, difference to their prostate health.
During Prostate Health Awareness Month, we’re reminded there’s strong evidence good nutrition, and an active lifestyle, can boost your prostate health, reduce the likelihood of prostate cancer and slow its progression.
“For prostate health, a heart healthy balanced diet is a prostate healthy diet. Enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day is a good start,” explained Ashley Southern-Devoe. Nurse Practitioner at Freeman Urology Associates. “Remember to drink coffee, soda, black tea and alcohol in moderation since they can exacerbate urinary symptoms.”
Eating a variety of colorful foods and increasing intake of anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants, may go a long way to protecting the prostate and preventing prostate cancer. Recommended changes from the Prostate Cancer Foundation include a diet high in colorful vegetables, low in sugar and processed carbohydrates and moderate in animal-based protein (taking advantage of the health benefits of beans, nuts, soy, and certain fish). Some might refer to this as a version of the Mediterranean Diet. Other healthy foods choices include:
Things like cabbage, bok choy, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Broccoli, often hailed as prostate super food, contains Glucpraphanin, a phytochemical researchers suggest can convert to substances that potentially target and prevent cancer cell growth. Studies suggest that eating cruciferous vegetables can also lower inflammation, which is related to the risk of getting prostate cancer.
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are full of antioxidants that help neutralize and remove free radicals from the body.
Certain cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines and trout provide the “good fats” that don’t trigger inflammation the same way as saturated animal fats such as beef fat. Recently, scientists have begun to see inflammation within the prostate as a dangerous condition that can make it easier for cancer to take hold. Keep in mind, not all fish is created equal. Canned tuna, shrimp, lobster, scallops and “other” fish are more inflammatory than “dark-meat” fish like salmon or red snapper. For those not wild about fish, try replacing animal fat with vegetable fat.
Tomatoes are one food that’s been on the list for prostate health for years because the lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant. The cooking process makes it easier for men’s bodies to access the antioxidant and send it to the prostate. Tomato paste and juice can help men’s bodies as well. By the way, cooking tomatoes in olive oil, helps the body absorb lycopene.
Green tea is another source of antioxidants which are believed to be anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic. A systematic review of multiple studies published in Medicine® (Baltimore) suggested men who drank seven cups of green tea per day had a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Living well, with healthy eating and lifestyle habits, can go a long way to reduce prostate cancer risk. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. So, it’s worth taking the time when grocery shopping, preparing meals and going out to eat, to make smart food choices for better prostate health.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) challenges Americans to show their support for men affected by prostate cancer by taking a simple challenge to eat 30 healthy foods during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. PCF’s “Eat It to Beat It” https://www.pcf.org/30foods/ campaign is a national effort to raise awareness about prostate cancer and show that making healthy lifestyle choices can potentially reduce the risk for developing prostate cancer and improving outcomes.
Ashley Southern-Devoe, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,at Freeman Urology Associates, is devoted to providing patients the opportunity to express their concerns and getting their questions answered. The team at Freeman Urology Associates, including Drs. James Frogge and David Anderson, specialize in high-quality care and offering information on the latest treatment and therapy options to help men live a healthier life. For more information about having regular screenings for optimal prostate health, call 417.347.3703 or visit freemanhealth.com/uro.