Because June is Men’s Health Month, I have decided to dedicate some blogs to men’s health concerns. Today’s entry is about nutritional approaches men can take to protect their prostate. The prostate is about the size of a walnut; it is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system. As a man ages, it is very important for him to protect his prostate and be sure that it doesn’t enlarge; if it enlarges, the risk of prostate cancer increases exponentially. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 180,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed this year; prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States.
While it is the season of delicious, yet meat-heavy barbecues, men must make sure to consume some health-boosting (mostly) plant-based foods to protect their prostate. Here are some suggestions guys:
- Love your Lycopene
Lycopene is a carotenoid found in red fruits and veggies, most notably tomatoes. Studies have found that lycopene can lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Not a lover of fresh tomatoes? Tomato sauce has just as much lycopene!
- Get Zany over Zinc
Several studies have found that men with enlarges prostates or prostate cancer have low levels of zinc in their blood; therefore, research indicates that zinc has a protective effect. Men, increase your zinc with these excellent options: sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or adzuki beans.
- Achieve Victory with Vitamin C from Veggies
Research is finding that vitamin-C has a protective role against an enlarged prostate; interestingly, it is only vitamin-C from veggies (not fruit) that has this protective effect. Reach for bell peppers, which have more vitamin C than any other veggie. If bell peppers aren’t your thing guys, consider broccoli, kale, or Brussels sprouts.
- OMG is Omega-3 Amazing
Although experts tend to recommend reducing meat consumption for prostate health, fish is the exception to the rule. A recent study showed that omega-3s can prevent prostate cancer tumor growth due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Great fish choices with high omega-3s include: wild-caught salmon, freshwater trout, anchovies, and sardines.
- Boost your Health with Beta-Sitoserol
Beta-what? Beta-sitosrol is a plant sterol found in avocados, pumpkin seeds, and pecans; this plant sterol has been found to reduce the risk of an enlarged prostate. What a great excuse for guacamole!
While most men I know don’t deliberately make food choices to protect their prostate, I ask that you do because a healthy prostate is very important, especially as you age and your risk of prostate cancer increases.