A man’s prostate needs and deserves good nutrition protecting it from conditions that can affect this gland. The prostate gland is roughly the size of a walnut situated just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. It is a part of the male reproductive system as its main purpose is to secrete a fluid that forms part of the seminal fluid that carries sperm.
Throughout a man’s life the prostate can grow and is vulnerable to various health conditions from benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly. However other than skin cancer, it is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2017. Out of this number, around 26,730 men will die from the disease. During a man’s lifetime, about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Foods that may boost prostate health
Even though there is no guarantee that eating a healthy diet will prevent prostate problems, at the same time it won’t hurt either. Certain foods do appear to have qualities that may boost prostate health – primarily choosing a healthy well-balanced diet made up of lots of vegetables, fruits and healthy sources of fat.
Here are five foods men should eat regularly to protect and keep his prostate healthy throughout his lifetime:
1. Salmon and other fatty fish
A nutrient research has supported to be of benefit to the prostate are omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are well-known for lowering LDL or bad cholesterol while raising HDL or good cholesterol. They also can help lower high blood pressure, aid with weight loss, and may reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish. A research paper from 2013 found that prostate cancer patients who consumed a low-fat, high fish oil diet had significantly less tissue inflammation helping inhibit tumor growth. The omega-3s helped to modulate prostate cancer development because of its anti-inflammatory effects. That’s why fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, and herring are great sources of omega-3s.
It is important to note that there have been a few studies correlating high blood levels of omega-3s to prostate cancer. None of the studies proved that omega-3s cause prostate cancer nor did they go into how those blood levels came about and whether the men with high blood levels ate a lot of fish, too much fish oil supplements, or both.
Men should aim for two servings (one serving is 3.5 ounces) of fatty fish each week.
Other good sources of omega-3s include flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, navy beans, kidney beans, olive oil and winter squash.
One of the best go-to snacks a man can choose are nuts. These portable, convenient nutrition-packed nuggets are loaded with healthy fat, protein, fiber and various vitamins and minerals.
A mineral of particular importance to the prostate is selenium. A study found that selenium may help fight prostate cancer but continued research is necessary before making any recommendations stating it definitively is effective.
Brazil nuts are packed with this mineral containing more than 100 percent of the daily value for selenium. But don’t overdue it on eating Brazil nut after Brazil nut. Too much selenium can be harmful at high doses – keep the portion size no more than about 1/3 of a cup. Other excellent sources of nuts for men include walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and pecans.
3. Green tea
Green tea is known for its many properties promoting health from lowering cholesterol and improving memory and attention spans. But a 2011 study also found that green tea may be a potent protector against prostate cancer.
Men should highly consider consuming at least a cup of green tea each day for helping to keep the prostate healthy. Drinking this beverage can be an easy way for also obtaining the many phytochemicals and anti-oxidants green tea contains.
This summertime favorite is on the list because it contains a rich supply of a phytochemical well-known for keeping the prostate free of cancer – lycopene. Research has suggested that lycopene may play an important role in the prevention of prostate cancer.
Lycopene is a powerful anti-oxidant giving plant-based foods their reddish hues found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, apricots, guava, papaya, and watermelon. One and a half cup of watermelon contains about 9 to 13 milligrams of lycopene.
Men should try to consume about 10 milligrams of lycopene daily. As long as a man is choosing foods such as watermelon or even just a half cup of tomato puree (25 mg), it should not be a problem getting in sufficient amounts.
Any food high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants is highly recommended for men as each may prevent damage from free radicals that can attack healthy cells contributing to cancer risk. Vitamin C may also reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Berries are the perfect answer of a food rich in both of these compounds.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries are all good choices and men should have some each day. Men require 90 milligrams of vitamin C daily and one cup of strawberries provides that exact amount. Other sources of vitamin C besides berries include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, and mangos.