Whether you’re growing out your facial hair in support of Movember to draw attention to men’s health issues or not, supporting men’s prostate health awareness can be as simple as these tips.
Movember started as a simple way to draw attention to some of the health issues that apply to me: Prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. In honor of Movember, have fun with your mo but also think about incorporating these tips from Marc S. Cohen, MD FACS, Medical Advisor, Bastion Health.
Watch your meal portion sizes
Growing up I was always told to “clean my plate.” It wasn’t known at the time, but that was bad health advice. The golden rule is to eat slowly and deliberately so that you know when you’re full and don’t overeat. This is a chance to do something good for your prostate and your health in general, as overeating can lead to weight gain and increase your risk of prostate cancer.
Eat the right fats
Everyone needs some fat, but too much bad fat can increase weight, which is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Replacing animal fats with vegetable oils may help men with prostate cancer to live longer, while eating lots of saturated fats may be linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence. Much less is known about the impact of fats in prostate cancer prevention. Good fats consist of things like avocados, which are rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, which helps lower cardiovascular inflammation, nuts, such as pecans, almonds, and walnuts, and olive oil, which is also rich in monounsaturated fat. Avoid hydrogenated fats and limit fats from dairy and processed foods.
Limit red meats
The literature on the effect of red meat on prostate cancer is unclear, but some research suggests that eating too much fat may raise your risk of aggressive and advanced prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that a diet that is low in meat but high in fruit and vegetables may help slow the growth of prostate cancer. Large amounts of meat that have been cooked at very high temperatures or are very well done (barbecued, grilled, fried) may increase your risk of prostate cancer due to the heterocyclic amines (HCAs) found in cooked meat. Common examples include beef, pork, hot dogs, sausage and luncheon meats.
Eat prostate-healthy foods
Laboratory studies have demonstrated a positive effect of certain ingredients in foods such as lycopenes in tomatoes on the prostate. What remains largely undetermined is supplementation mostly effective in individuals that are deficient in a particular substance and how much is enough. This means we can’t say for sure that any of these foods unquestionably benefit the prostate. That being said, the following foods are thought to have possible benefit: Soybeans and legumes (Kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils), green tea, tomatoes (cooked over raw), watermelon, guava, papaya, pomegranate, and green tea.
It is said that prostate cancer has a sweet tooth because sugar (glucose) appears to be associated with many cancers in that it increases the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all considered to be substantial risk factors for cancer development. Things to avoid include: sugary sweets, sweetened beverages such as soda and fruit juice. Exercise portion control, avoiding additional sugars added to products. Rely on natural sugar sources (such as fruit) for your ”sugar fix”.
Cut down on salt
Salt is known to increase urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH, so it is best to follow a low-sodium diet. By limiting the use of frozen foods, processed and canned foods and not adding salt to meals wherever possible, you can cut down on your salt intake.
Simple lifestyle changes can do wonders for your health including good prostate health. If you’re a smoker, cut back or better yet stop immediately. Modest alcohol intake is fine but never in excess. ANY exercise is better than no exercise. Start slow and progress as your body permits. The recommendation is at least three hours per week for a really healthy lifestyle. Don’t give up. It can take months before a habit becomes ingrained. Do just ONE THING every day to make you feel good about yourself and you may find that the positive change is empowering.
Many of these tips are just plain good for you, and promote good health in general. If you have other medical conditions such as heart disease, you will recognize most of these suggestions as heart healthy as well. When talking to patients I often say, “heart healthy is prostate healthy”.